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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
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For the Shloshim of Yaakov Tovia ben Boruch Altman and Second Yahrzeit of Sara bas Bentzion (Harnik)


Dear G-d,

 

As a mourning Yesoma sadly left behind

I’ve been turning things over and over in my mind

And have resolved to speak directly to You, my Creator

For who better to understand us – there is none greater

 

It’s You who can comfort us and wipe away our tears

It is only You who are capable of alleviating our fears

Now that our beloved parents no longer grace this earth

The ones we could depend on from the moment of our birth

 

Two beautiful neshamos, they’ve both left us and gone

Up to Shamayim to bear witness upon

The onus of a bitter Golus they personally braved

From early on when heinous mortals proved to be depraved

 

Throughout their unspeakable ordeal that reverberated in Heaven

You kept a close and watchful eye on them 24/7

Dispatching Your malachim You saved them many a time

From the unrelenting viciousness of the Nazi swine

 

 

At 19 our dear mother z”l was met with the greeting “Arbeit Macht Frei”

As she debarked the smothering cattle car and was forced to bid good-bye

To precious family members herded along a different path

Leading to the “showers” of Auschwitz that culminated in their bloodbath

 

Our dear father hk”m was iron-willed, agile and fit

Divinely blessed with a tenaciousness, vigor and true grit

He hid in snow on rooftops and in flooded cellars come spring

Paying no heed to hunger pangs or the preying insect’s sting

 

But You, Hashem, know this all – from You nothing is concealed

Moreover, it is You who held their hands and acted as their shield

You further brought the two together, postwar and parent-less

Notwithstanding their bitter experiences, they were shining models of finesse

 

Fast forward … on to the Holy Land, to struggles amid life anew

In due course to Canadian shores where one was still challenged as a Jew

Bur our dear father’s dogged resistance was to serve him well again

For he’d never dream to abandon Your statutes to conform to those of men

 

 

No elaboration needed, dear G-d, for You are quite aware

Of this twosome’s warmth and generosity, a sweet and gentle pair

Despite invariably modest means, they’d fill each outstretched palm

Their delightful company and lending ear were to so many soothing balm

 

Ah, but the Beis Midrash was our father’s love (save for his family)

For years on end from before the break of dawn he’d toil there happily

Ensuring the mikveh’s effective function to orderliness all around

His selfless devotion to this holy avodah was far and wide renowned

 

No rain nor hail, no sleet or snow would deter him from his morning routine

At 5:00 a.m. when the masses still slept he’d slip away mostly unseen

Up until 48 hours before You deemed to reclaim his holy soul

He carried on his daily shiur and minyan and was faithful to his passionate goal

 

It was on Erev Shabbos, Parshas Vayeshev quite a telling sign

The parsha teaches that a tzaddik’s focus is on the bottom line

Maasim tovim defined the life of Yaakov our eminent patriarch

As was our own dear father’s life’s ambition – with which he made his mark

 

How apropos (as You well know) that chof-daled Kislev memorializes the day

Of the Chanukas HaBayis of the Beis Hamikdash, our acutely yearned-for mainstay

On Erev Chanukah You summoned our Tatty to ascend on high to ignite

The Chanukah candles in Gan Eden … and with our dear mother there to unite

 

It was close to two whole years since he’d abandoned motivation

To take delight in life’s small joys as he had before their separation

It broke our hearts to witness our dear father’s world turning dark

Life without his Aishes Chayil had simply lost its glowing spark

 

A bittersweet end to an era – not easy for us children left behind

But You, Ribono shel Olam are HaMakom menachem and indefinably kind

You are the Healer of the brokenhearted, the Father of orphans and more

We await the great light at the end of all eras when perfection You will restore….

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