By Rav Y. Reuven Rubin
I’m not a great traveler, as time goes by it gets ever harder to schlep, especially with having to stand in all those queues for all sorts of reasons, some of which my mere mortal mind has yet to fathom. (I’ve not yet heard of hijackers taking over a plane with bottles of Head and Shoulders held up high) Today I write from New York City so obviously I have traveled and although I am jet lagged, I want to share some immediate thoughts.
As my caring readers will know, our family has been stricken by the sudden loss of my Rebbetzin, Chaiky a”h. Klal Yisroel is eternal, and this Shabbos we were granted the simcha of naming our new born great granddaughter with the Rebbetzin’s name. To say things are bitter sweet at the moment would be an understatement. I live thru phases of positive hope for the family’s future and suddenly finding myself sobbing with loss. I know this is to be expected, and have so counselled many a mourner over the years. However, it’s personal today, and I can’t keep back the sudden stab of pain nor the void that follows.
Giving a name, so shortly after our loss, is a balm of healing that we desperately needed, and I know the neshoma of the Rebbetzin has great nachos from this shaft of new light. Holding this warm bundle of life in my arms spoke to a deep place that needed just this antidote, and I thank the Eibishter for this miraculous chesed.
I have mentioned that we want to do something that could keep the spirit of the Rebbetzin’s work alive, some sort of vehicle that would reach out to the many lonely neshomahs that are lost in this world where so many seem glued to the mirage on the phone screen. Before I left for New York, the first meeting of a number of interested ladies took place and from it was born a heart-warming start of what I hope will be a positive tool in helping many.
Named “Chaiky’s Network,” we are focusing in bringing a bit of warmth and friendship to others. We are living in a lonely world, where many of our ladies find themselves overwhelmed with family duties and work. They just don’t experience real-time friendship on a personal human basis. As the Rebbetzin showed throughout her life, the antidote for so many broken souls is just a human touch, a word of real support, a sign that someone cares. It has always been the little things in life that connect us with others. Sounds simple, but in our self-possessed world it seems too much to ask for.
During my short stay here in the busiest city of the hiemisha world, I had a zechus to speak to several Gedolim who agreed with what we are doing. I heard from these holy leaders how much they see that this facet in our fast paced world is eating into our community. Men have their shuls, their Shiurim , whilst those who support the entire edifice of Klal Yesroil are left alone, often feeling isolated. Yes they have the children, maybe a job, and of course their husband, but there is a unique space of human contact that needs to touch beyond the immediate life of home. A phone call, maybe a cuppa, or just a sounding board, can go a long way towards opening hearts.
Some think that because we are blessed with many fine professional therapists, those seeking help can just turn to them to “be that friend”. This shows a lack of understanding of what a friend is, and what a professional therapist is. Therapists are not meant to take the place of everyday Human contact. Their role is a healing position for those complex situations that go beyond the everyday need for a friendly word.
Chaiky’s Network will build gentle bridges of friendships, we plan regular meetings where ideas for helping one another will be discussed, and questions answered by hiemisha experts.
I have been asked to talk to the group on a regular basis and pray I will be found worthy of this responsibility. For in these days before the arrival of the Moshiach, we must turn to the small nitty gritty of our golus and act wisely when reaching out to others.
We will all work together, bringing hope and warmth in a difficult time, and with the zechus of the Rebbetzin, we will succeed and hopefully be blessed to see the advent of the Moshiach in our day, Amen.