Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Not everything is the worst case scenario. Sometimes it might just be the packaging.
Last week, I received a call from a Jewish woman about 2 hours away from Kelowna, concerning her dear mother.
At age 106, her soul finally started feeling tired and was preparing to head back home.
After a wonderful conversation in which I had the privilege of meeting another sweet member of our people, we deliberated as to the best course of action for Meira's beloved mom, Chava o.b.m.
A few days later, Chava's precious soul soared to the heavens as it traveled to her final rest near the throne of G-d's glory.
Of the amazing life that Chava lived, the one thing that her daughter could not emphasize enough, and repeated again and again, was this.
"I never heard a bad word from my mother's mouth. I never heard a curse word. I never heard anything bad about anyone."
Think about that for a moment.
Here was a woman who was hunted down simply because of her race. She met so much pain and hurt in her life.
In perhaps the most dramatic 106 years in history, one can only imagine how much drama and trauma one would have encountered, living through pogroms, world war I, world war II and many other unfathomable excruciatingly difficult life circumstances.
Not to mention good old friendly fire, such as personal -often inevitable- hurt from (sometimes one's closest) family and friends.
But a bad word against anyone never exited her lips! No bad words period.
Chava went on to build communities in Canada, volunteer for many organizations and do endless kindness for so many people.
I couldn't help but think.
If she had passed away at age 70, there would have been 500 people at her funeral.
At 80, there would have been 750 people.
At 90, perhaps 1000 people.
And today, there should have been 5000 people at her funeral, to honour her and thank her, and be at her side as she journeyed the ultimate, final journey of life.
In Kelowna, the partial Jewish portion of the cemetery sits nestled on the top of a mountain, with a breathtaking view overlooking the city.
As I stood there that day on the top of the mountain, with only five* other people in sight, the answer suddenly came to me.
Moses! Ahron his brother! The amazing story!
Every student of the Torah knows Ahron the Jewish Kohen Gadol* as the great lover of his people. A bad word never left his lips about anyone. He loved people and all day was occupied with building and repairing relationships.
Men, women and children, all of Israel, loved Ahron immensely and mourned his passing greatly.
They missed him terribly because when he was around, there was peace and tranquility among families.
Notwithstanding his colossal and indelible impact, he was buried alone.
His funeral was silent, alone, on the top of a mountain, with just a couple other people.
No one was allowed to be there when G-d kissed Ahron's soul back to the true life of life, oneness with its true self, a piece of G-d above.
We are all born with the kiss of G-d blowing the breath of life into us, but Ahron, and some great giants in each generation, merit to leave this way as well.
Ahron experienced the ultimate end of life, in complete oneness with his Maker, where it was he and G-d alone. G-d Himself came to be there to welcome Ahron home, because Ahron sacrificed his life to keep G-d's children together.
In absolute awe I said, "your mom is a very lucky woman. She is being buried just like her ancestor Ahron the high priest.
It's just us and G-d here today.
It's your mom and G-d alone".
A silence struck the huge crowd of the grand total of all five of us, and a few flowing tears can be seen here and there.
Her mom was being welcomed home, by G-d Himself.
If she didn't get a "big" funeral, it's because she didn't need it.
In fact, perhaps she had the biggest funeral anyone can ever ask for.
"He is the space in which the universe resides. He does not reside in the universe", says the sacred Kabbalistic adage. We exist in Him, and He is all loving, all caring, and all powerful.
It's a whole different perspective.
We humans have the power to train our hearts and our minds, to see every detail in our life as positive, and as a blessing from the all loving hand of G-d.
Even the worst looking situations might just be nature's packaging of the greatest good….
….Waiting to be unwrapped and discovered.
Start unwrapping now from home.
It's just you and G-d alone.
Make it a special time.
* Due to many calculations including Covid and other unforseen circumstances.
** Jewish high priest.