Special Note: A young girl, struggling with the Angel of Death, wrote the following letter. At her request, the letter was sent to many rabbis and rebbetzinsin a position to disseminate her message among our people. Tragically, she is no longer here to see her letter published, but as we approach Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, her neshamah will surely have an aliyah in the knowledge that her request has been fulfilled and her message read and taken to heart by many.
My Dear Sisters:
I am writing to you in my last moments with the last threads of strength. I am writing to you with blood and tears from the bottom of my broken and tormented heart. Yes, I, Revital Avraham, 19-years-old, am standing on the threshold of death, so young, but already feeling the gates of life shutting slowly before me. I am like a beautiful flower closing its petals. Like all of you, I had dreams about love, husband, children and social position. But Hashem has decided otherwise, and I know today that had I lived differently, this wouldn’t have happened.
I was born into a religious family in the center of Israel. From the day I can remember, I knew that I was a beautiful child. Since kindergarten, I attracted everybody’s attention and knew that I had been blessed with rare beauty.
My friends = encouragement made me understand that beauty can buy anything in this world – friendship, position and honor. I wore clothes, which drew attention; my long hair caused envy and every detail of my appearance was thoroughly taken care of. I enjoyed the long looks of people everywhere I went – to my deep regret. My teachers in high school tried to change me, but it was too late.
I can remember the words of one of my teachers: ARevital, you have received a rare present, special beauty – this is your trial in life. Keep it carefully for the right person to come into your life.@ I pretended to be convinced, but these words were just passing by my ears. I was addicted to my looks and did everything to bring people to admiration. I know today that I have caused multitudes of people to fail because of my clothing.
And then I received a first warning. One evening while preparing an omelet, I made a brisk turn and my beautiful long hair got caught in the fire and in seconds became a red, fearful flame. I was saved, but my hair was gone. I remember my hysterical crying in the hospital and my father trying to console me. ARevital, Hashem has made a miracle. You could have been entirely burnt! You now have an opportunity to change and leave your foolish attitude behind you.”
But I didn’t listen. I was 16 then, and within two years my hair grew back, and everything was forgotten. I was the queen of my class. My friends loved me, anything I wanted was granted and I was never alone. I grew more and more beautiful with the years. I began to put on make-up and tight clothes, and even got involved in some trouble. It is hard for me to write about it, but I think you can guess.
I forgot to tell you about my grandmother. She was a wonderful person – a real tzadekes and I loved her very much. She was very sad and upset about my spiritual state of mind. She gave me money to buy decent clothes, but nothing helped. She died before I was 17. I cried a lot and didn’t know how to live without her, and for a brief period, I even became a little more religious.
But time eased the pain, and within a few months, I was back to my bad habits, boastful and immodest as ever. And then I received a second sign from above. One night I had a dream about my grandmother. She was sitting on a stone, crying. I asked her why and she pointed to her head without saying a word. I woke up very upset, but I forgot the whole thing quickly, and this second sign melted away without any thought. And then I received the big blow. It came gradually, but consistently. At the beginning, there were headaches, and my mother said I was tired and studying too much, that I should rest more, but deep down, I felt it was something more serious.
After a month, I couldn’t even stand because of the headaches and I thought my head was going to explode. My mother and I were worried and anxious. After many examinations and analyses the doctor revealed the frightful truth. He said, ASuch a beautiful girl and so sick!” I burst into tears and asked for explanations.
My mother and I were disoriented and helpless before this new cruel reality. I had a cancerous tumor in my head. It was only a question of time. I don’t remember how we got home. I just remember tears, fear, confusion, and pain. And suddenly I remembered the dream – my grandmother crying and pointing to her head! If only I had understood the meaning of that dream, my life would have been different. But I didn’t give any importance to the dream and went on with my life. The next day, at the hospital, I began the treatment I never thought would be so painful. I felt death crawling slowly inside me, burning my bones, my blood, and my whole self.
Dear Hashem… You are all Goodness, but I didn’t listen to You. Dear Father, I ignored Your compassion and Your messages.
The rest of my story is sad and painful, and I don’t even have the strength to write. My wonderful hair fell out. Within a few months I was left completely bald, pale and weak. Every doctor I met mentioned my rare beauty, and every time, I felt my heart break a little bit more. Hashem had given me a precious gift, and I had used it the wrong way.
Oh, Hashem! Today I am 19 years old, living a tormented life. My days are numbered, my illness is getting stronger, and I feel death approaching. I pray that my suffering atone for my sins. I turn to you, dear sisters, with a torn soul and a broken heart, and ask you to listen to my last words: Be modest and observe the Commandments of our Torah. There is Law, and there is a Judge. And He sees all and knows all…and every one of our acts will be brought to judgment. I beg you – strengthen your modesty B don’t wait for signs. Do it for yourselves; do it for me!
My pillow is soaked with tears. I am writing with tremendous efforts. Please pray for me and say that you’ll keep the laws of our Torah so that I recover and be healthy again. I beg you…I want to live.
Postscript: Revital died a short time after writing this letter. Her last will was a request to publish it. May her memory be blessed and her message embraced by all.