Dear Mrs. Bluth,
I know this letter is not the normal one you receive; I just hope you will take the time to answer it.
I have an elderly cousin who is in her mid nineties, and with whom I keep in touch on some sort of regular basis. She and her husband, a”h were both Holocaust survivors, the only ones remaining from each of their families. The last few times I spoke with her she sounded very depressed, which I took for grief over the loss of her husband who died two years ago. When I asked what I could do to lift her spirits, her response absolutely floored me.
This couple, because of experiments done on her in the camps, was not supposed to have children. However, they were blessed to have one son – who is currently in his 60s and divorced with no children of his own.
A few months ago while attending a bris it suddenly dawned on her that after she and this son dies, there will be no one to carry on their name, and especially the name of her beloved husband. She asked if, perhaps, I could help find a family who had exhausted all their obligatory names and who would be willing to name a child after her beloved husband. She said that she could not leave this world or rest in peace knowing that it would be as though he had never existed. She said she is willing to pay for this privilege, not a huge sum, but all that she had saved in addition to some museum quality art that her talented and gifted husband had drawn and painted throughout his life.
I can tell you that her husband was a wonderful, beautiful human being who reflected his love for Hakodosh Boruch Hu in every one of his drawings and paintings and that I loved him dearly. Honestly, I had never given a thought to all the kedoshim who perished in the Shoah without any survivors to perpetuate their names and mark their existence. Until now. I gave her my word that I would search for a family who would be willing and able to do this chessed and, hopefully soon, she would hear the name called out at a bris.
Her clock is ticking and every day that goes by without any news is sheer torment for her. So I ask you to help me find anyone who is willing and able to grant her the only wish she has before she leaves this life and joins her beloved husband. This may be the birth of a new chessed, a mitzvah that will surely bring peace to the many nameless and forgotten souls that perished without a zaycher.
In this zechus, may we all be zoche to welcome Moshiach, speedily in our day.
You are certainly correct in your assumption that your letter presents the first of such a request, yet a worthy one at that. Honestly, this subject had never crossed my mind either. My heart goes out to your cousin; her husband must have been an incredible person for her to go to such lengths to find a namesake for him. I think it is a beautiful opportunity and look forward to seeing if a “shidduch” could be brokered through this column.
Tzedakah is not just a monetary act. It can be a gift of any kind that will give another comfort, peace of mind and alleviate pain and suffering. To this end, dear friends, if you find it in your heart to do this chessed, please get in touch with me.
May each act of kindness bring us closer to the Geulah.