What a day. The burial in Safed of the greatest Kabbalist in human history. It was absolutely surreal. I was convinced many times I would be waking up from a bad dream any minute. I never experienced anything so transcendent; so physical and raw in its pain; so spiritual and absolutely biblical in its significance to our souls and this world (and I don’t mean biblical metaphorically). The effect it had upon each of us standing there under a blazing sun experiencing the unthinkable was indescribable and yet probably different for each person.
The air by the Rav’s tomb was sprinkled with a fragrance that I guess must be the Garden of Eden. I found that air intoxicating and kept asking my two sons if they could smell it.
It began for me on Thursday, before Yom Kippur. I was visiting the Rav at the hospital. The Rav was wincing in pain and tightening up his entire body groaning and writhing in a battle beyond words. The Rav was delirious and did not really notice me. After a short while it was time for me to leave. I said goodbye to the Rav and the Rav literally stopped wincing and squirming in pain and suddenly became alert. He stopped, looked up at me happily, and gave me the Rav’s trademark smile with a knowing twinkle in the eye. Literally!
Then the Rav went back into battle.
That was the last time I saw the Rav in this physical world.
I had the merit to see the Rav in the hospital room after the Rav left our world. The Rav was glowing and lying peacefully with the family by his side. It was clear to me that Karen was not only the Matriarch of our world, as was Rachel, but Karen was also our Queen Esther, Sarah and all the great female chariots of the Bible. But none of them are as great as Karen for they are each a part of Karen.
Today, as the Rav was buried, the cries of Michael and Yehuda shook the hills of Galilee and cut through everyone.
I am leaving Safed now still numb and dazed but peaceful with certainty blazing like 400 million suns in my heart. For I had many conversations with The Rav over the last 25 years only one of which I will share now.
15 years ago the Rav told me he was afraid to tell Karen what it was going to take to bring an end to pain, suffering and death. Now I know why.
The other reason for my certainty was the crying and pleadings of the Rav and Karen’s sainted and beloved two sons, Yehuda and Michael.
They laid it on the line today and begged and demanded from the deepest depth of a human soul for their father to continue to help us finish this once and for all.
We will see the results of their prayers in our lifetime.
Because if there is a gate to heaven, their piercing wails just opened it wider than anytime in human history.
And so this isn’t the end.
This is the beginning.