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Jun 28, 2011

Defending The Wishes Of Rav Lefkowitz ztl

My son came back a little while ago from the levaya of Rav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz zt"l in Bnei Braq. His yeshiva, like many yeshivas, got a bus and took the boys to the levaya to show respect to one of the great roshei yeshiva of our generation and escort him to burial.

My son told me about the sheer masses of people, the number of buses from different yeshivas, who came to pay their respects.

However, I like the more human touches to such events, rather than just the bland, albeit impressive, reports of what happened. Interestingly, my son told me that only his two sons eulogized him, as per his wishes, and then only briefly with minimal praise.

Another interesting point he said is that according to his wishes, the only people allowed to be pallbearers, to help carry the body, were men over the age of 30, and they had to have gone to the mikve before the funeral. He told me that his friend was near the body at some point as it was being carried. The friend saw someone let go of the meeta, the stretcher upon which the body rests, so he maneuvered his way in to grab hold and have the  zchus of helping carry the rosh yeshivas body. As soon as he got hold of it, people started screaming, hitting and pushing him away, as his grabbing hold was against the wishes of the rosh yeshiva. he immediately let go as he was pushed aside.

9 comments:

  1. One wonders if halbanat panim and assault were included in fulfilling the desires of the rosh yeshiva...

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  2. In general do we obey the wishes of the deceased regarding hespedim?

    It's actually a real question because my father (ad meah v'esrim bebriyut) is adamant that he wants no hespedim at all at his levaya.

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  3. Mikvah? I thought litvaks don't even mention the M word?

    ReplyDelete
  4. "screaming and hitting..."

    Very touching indeed.

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  5. well the S"A Y"D 344 talks about not ignoring the request of the deceased for eulogies, but of course it is ignored, at least for gedolim (e.g. the Noda byehuda eulogized the pnei yehoshua against his express wishes)
    KT
    Joel Rich

    ReplyDelete
  6. to their credit, they did it because they were probably shocked at the upstart young kid who had the nerve to touch the stretcher. they probably were shocked and thought this kid was defiling the soul of the departed, against his express holy wishes, and this kid might be stopping the soul from ascending as much as possible in heaven.

    On the other hand, they probably could have said something politely as well and the kid would have backed off just as quickly. perhaps.

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  7. My dear Rafi: if they really thought this about your son ("they probably were shocked and thought this kid was defiling the soul of the departed, against his express holy wishes, and this kid might be stopping the soul from ascending as much as possible in heaven"), then they really ARE out of touch with reality - because everyday there are young boys who show up at funerals of gedolim just to do this sort of thing.

    Your son is lucky he only got a potch and a scream from the sound of it.

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  8. nah, not my son. he isnt a troublemaker. just a friend of his

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  9. I would like to see the point of telling this story? Besides Lashon Hara of fellow Jews, who probably made a mistake, what purpose does this story have? Im sure you knew what to tell your son to control the damage, but why do we have to know?

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