Rav Pam became like a father to us, even though we had never met him before and spent a relatively short time with him. His love was not abstract. We felt that he cared for us like his own children, that in fact we became his own children – in thirty minutes! It was clear he was asking God to bless us, and indeed we quickly saw the result of his brachos. He was actively working for our welfare, and he hardly knew us.
Why were we important to him? Because we were his mishpacha.
And now we say goodbye to Yaakov Avinu, the father of us all.
Goodbye, dear father, whose brachos are always with us. We will try to live up to the standards you set for us. Yehuda said about Yaakov and Binyamin (Bereishis 44:30): “v’nafsho keshura l’nafsho” – his soul is bound up with his soul. Even after 3,500 years, the soul of Yaakov Avinu is bound up with our souls and our souls are bound up with his.
Let us weep at this parting. Let us remember our avos and imahos with tears of gratitude and love. They lived for us and now let us live for them. With these tears, our prayers will ascend to the heavens and awaken the heavenly mercy.
As it is with these tears, so it is with tears for Yerushalayim. It is said about Jerusalem, “Whoever mourns over Jerusalem is deserving to witness her joy” (Taanis 30b).
Soon we will see the rebuilt Yerushalayim.
Similarly, it is said, “Our father Jacob did not die” (Rashi on Bereishis 49:33; Taanis 5b).
“Thus said Hashem [to Mama Rachel]: Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for there is reward for your accomplishment – the word of Hashem- and they will return from the enemy’s land. There is hope for your future – the word of Hashem – and your children will return to their border” (Jeremiah 31:14).
“Those who sow in tears will reap in glad song” (Psalm 126).
It seems quite clear we will see it soon in our days, and then all our tears will become tears of joy and everlasting gladness.