I just returned from your levaya. You might be wondering why I went.
After all, I never met you and I am almost a half century older than you.
I don’t know your parents or any of your family members at all.
I am not a member of your parent’s Shul and never even met your parents.
I know that where you are now, you realize the reasons things occurred the way they did.
However, we down here are struggling to make sense out of the senseless; to comprehend the incomprehensible.
Why then did I trek out to Borough Park to be at your Levaya?
The reason Leiby is simple, I went because you are a very special young man.
Chazal (our Sages) have taught us in the Gemara (Shabbos 105 b) that whoever sheds tears over a ‘adam kasher’ literally a ‘kosher’ or proper person, Hashem counts those tears and places them in His ‘treasure trove’.
Leiby, more people cried today for you than for anyone I can recall in many years.
These tears shed openly and unabashedly certainly indicate that you are a special young boy.
However, there is another, more important reason I went to your Levaya.
The reason I went to the Levaya is because you are one of the most precious souls that Hashem has given us and to give proper respect and kavod to your special Neshama, I went to the Levaya.
Leiby, I cannot recall a single person has caused such unity; such an outpouring of togetherness; such fervent recitation of Tehillim as you caused these two days.
Leiby, today when I came to your Borough Park neighborhood, your presence could be felt by all. Everyone and I mean everyone, Jew and Gentile were more somber, more serious, indeed, nicer to each other.
Leiby, only a special person could have been chosen by Hashem to be the conduit of such an outpouring of care and consideration.
The Gemara teaches us that when Hashem wants to send ‘zechusim’ (merit) to His people, He chooses an individual who is already full of ‘merit’.
Leiby, you are obviously a young man with much merit; why else would Hashem choose you to be His agent to send His people so many opportunities for mitzvohs?
Leiby, I do not know why this happened. Indeed, this is not the way life is supposed to be.
The way of life is that young people are not supposed to die young. They are not supposed to be abducted by anyone, certainly not by a fellow Jew.
The way of the world should be that old people pass on and that young people live on.
However, in your case, the opposite has occurred.
I know you are a special young man; and I know your parents must be special people to have been blessed with you.
Leiby, it seems to us that you were with us much too short a time.
However, in your too short life you gave us the gift of appreciating the importance of unity.
You gave us a wake-up call to remind us to take the mundane incidents in life and place them in their proper perspective.
For two too short days you allowed us to be more forgiving, more accepting of each other and ultimately more loving of each other.
For that and for so much more, I and thousands like me went to your Levaya.
Please Leiby, do what you can for us and help all of us maintain the unity and togetherness which you caused these last two days.
May we merit to see each other one day.
With much love and respect; your friend…..
Rabbi Y Eisenman