“We are orphaned. Left without a father.”
These were the words of Rav Chaim Druckman upon hearing of the passing of HaRav Mordechai Tzemach Eliyahu ztz”l.
My landlord came by yesterday to fix my tris as I sat in my house broken and bewildered. Busying herself with the screwdriver she casually asked “He was a tremendous Tzadik but what was your connection to the Rav?” I said that I was privileged to have received HaRav Eliyahu’s blessing on several occasions. To have received guidance from him in times of need. He was the mesader kedushin at the wedding of one of my closest and truest friends who herself comes from an illustrious family of Torah giants and lovers of the Land of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the people of Israel with a generations long connection the Rav’s family. He was the personal Rabbi of my Rabbi and close friend and my “ke’ilu” older brother. I have had the priviledge of sitting with HaRav Eliyahu’s ztz”l son, HaRav Shmuel and his Rabbanit in their beautiful home in Tzfat drinking tea and musing over the future of the Jewish people, Torah and recipes for baking with whole wheat flour. But in the depths of my kishkes at the core of my being I thought “What was my connection? The Rav was so connected to every Jewish soul in the world. He devoted his life, his spirit and ultimately suffered immeasurable bodily pain, was moser his entire life for the good of the Jewish people. With his soul torn from this world do you not feel the tearing of your soul as well?”
It is told of the Baba Sali ztz”l that he had a special robe, a cloak that he set aside to wear when he would greet Mashiach. When he became aware of a Heavenly decree that untold harships were to befall the Jewish people he asked that the suffering be placed on him and that the Jewish people be spared. G-d canceled the decree but the price was that the Baba Sali would not live to see the coming of Mashiach. He gave the special robe to HaRav Eliyahu and with it a promise that he would merit to welcome the Mashiach cloaked in the majestic garment.
Two years ago on pesach HaRav Eliyahu fell ill and was rushed to Shaarei Tzedeck hospital. He underwent countless operations and procedures. After one particularly lengthy and harrowing operation his non-observant “chiloni” doctor explained that there was no medical reason why the Rav should still be alive. If he were to write an article for a scientific or medical journal about the case, the scientific community would not know what to make of it. He concluded that the Rav was alive by the will of G-d alone. His life would only end when G-d deemed it so.
HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu was a giant on the shoulders of giants, versed in the revealed Torah and under the guidance of the Baba Sali was intimately connected with the world of the hidden Torah as well. It is my belief that just as the Baba Sali was moser nefesh to alleviate the torment of the Jewish people, like a parent who begs G-d to spare his child pain, so to the Rav was moser nefesh on our behalf.
Yesterday, The Rav “halach l’olamo”. Hashem took his soul from this world and brought it to the next. How joyous they must be in shamayim, the Chida, the Ben Ish Chai, the Baba Sali, the Torah giants of all the previous generations. But in this world, we are orphaned. Left without a father, a leader, a guide. With the loss of our tzadik, pillar of Am Yisrael and with seemingly no one at the helm to carry the torch of the light of Torah nor the weight of the pain of the Jewish People, we are once again reminded that we have no one to rely on but Our Father in Heaven.
May the memory of HaRav Eliyahu strengthen us in our time of mourning. May we strengthen ourselves in our devotion to the Land, Torah and people of Israel and take upon added intention in our observance of G-d’s mitzvot. May we increase in ahavat chinam, loving and caring for our fellow Jew, mending the fragments of the Jewsh nation to become the One People we are destined to be. May we too prepare our days in full faith that we merit to greet the Mashiach and see the building of the Third Temple, a binyan adai ad speedily in our days.
Amen, kein yehi ratzon.
HaMakom yenachem et'chem b'toch shar avay'lay Tzion vee'Yerushalayim