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My Letter to Lori Gilbert Kaye

05/08/2019 03:02:20 PM


Rabbi Kornfeld

Dear Lori,

I did not have the privilege of meeting you, of knowing you during your life. However, I do feel privileged for knowing you now. Lori you are a Kedosha, a holy person, a person who died for Kiddush Hashem the sanctification of G-D's name. A Jew who is murdered for the sole reason that she is a Jew is a Kedosha.

But your Kedusha Is magnified, is amplified. Because you, Lori, were murdered in a holy place, and on a holy day, You were in your shul, Chabad of Poway, That you were instrumental in building from it's inception, and maintaining until today. And it was on Pesach the holiday of Passover on it's last day.

You were ready to recite the Yizkor prayer, Ready to invoke the memory of your beloved mother, who had passed away recently. Instead you recited Yizkor together with her in heaven, In G-d's presence.

Lori, you were a holy person, in a holy place, on a holy day. I am privileged, we are
privileged, to know you, to be a part of our holy great nation, together with you.

But Lori your Kedusha Is attested to, not only by how you died, but, equally important, by how you lived. You cared!

You cared and made sure that your Kehila, your community, would have a place to daven, learn, schmooze, and schep nachas from their children and grandchildren. You cared! Not only about the community center, but, more importantly, about the community members.

If there was someone who was needy, you cared and filled the need. If there was someone who was sad, you cared, and shared your joy. The picture of you, standing at the Western Wall with a beautiful smile, lighting up your face, is worth a thousand words.

You lived a holy life, full of kindness, full of happiness. A full life, not measured by time, but by accomplishments, בחיים ובמות, in life and in death Kedosha

Lori, my heart, our hearts, go out to your family. To your husband and daughter. Nothing we could say to them, could alleviate the pain and anguish of your absence. How lucky they were to have you as a wife and mom. All too short in time, oh so full of great moments and memories. We will take time to appreciate our loved ones, and resolve to emulate you Lori, to become better spouses, parents, and friends.

The Mishna in Ethics of our Fathers teaches us: The world stands and exists because of three things: Torah study, prayer, and acts of loving kindness.

Lori, your life kept the world going. You supported Chabad of Poway, were so many Jews came, to study so many dimensions of our holy Torah.

You were in Shul for Davening, to pray and refresh your connection to G-d, together with your congregation your acts of love and kindness are legendary in your community. Lori, you are the embodiment of this Mishnah.

We will emulate your example by attending Torah classes, by going to synagogue,
especially this coming Shabbat, and with a Lori-like smile, do more Tzedaka and kindness.

The Passover holiday ended last night. On its first night, Jews worldwide were sitting
around the Sedar table. A highlight of the Seder is the listing of the 10 plagues, when we remove some of the wine from our cups. Our sages tell us that there were two stages to the ninth plague of darkness. The first three days, the darkness was so dark that nothing could be seen, but the next three days the darkness became heavy, so dark, that you could not even move. Lori, you faced an even worse darkness, the horrific darkness of hate and anti-Semitism.

However, our holy Torah tells us that during this plague: "For all the Children of Israel there was light where they dwelled". Lori! You came face-to-face with horrific, evil darkness. But you Lori, are all about light, illumination, luminescence. Your shining countenance reflected your inner light, the light of your soul, your essence, who you really are. As king Solomon says "The flame of God is the human soul". You really shined, and you amped it up with Torah and Mitzvot. "A mitzvah is a lamp, and Torah is light".

A small amount of light banishes a lot of darkness. So how much more so, a large amount of light. Lori! You are a powerhouse of illumination, will emulate you, emphasizing and revealing our souls, We will kindle the lamps of mitzvot and shine with the light of Torah.

Lori, I am worried. I am concerned that I, that we, in time, will move on, and your memory will fade. After all we are only human, and time takes it's toll. You Lori, deserve to be remembered, always, every day.

However, I think, no, I am sure that you would want to be remembered by something of substance, not fluff. You would want to be remembered via a mitzvah that has a direct connection to the circumstances of your passing. Here are my thoughts:

Our sages tell that the death of righteous people protect their generation. You are, and will continue to be, a protection from heaven for your husband, daughter, community, and the rest of the Jewish nation.

"G-d will protect you going out and you're coming in from now and forever". This pasuk is connected to the Mitzvah of Mezuzah. On the Mezuzah there is written the holy name of G-d spelled.ש-ד-י an acronym too Shomer Daltot Israel Who protects the doorway of Israel. You no longer can touch and kiss the Mezuzah of your home and Shul But we Lori, will embrace the mitzvah in your memory. We will affix a kosher Mezuzah to every Jewish home.

And now a connection to your beloved Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein may he have a speedy healing and recovery. The Rabbi lost his right index finger. When he now lifts his right hand to touch and kiss the Mezuzah that main finger will be missing. I am sure he will feel your presence in that void each time he touches and kisses the Mezuzah We too Lori, will remember you each time we kiss our Mezuzah, and always try to live our lives inspired by your example.

Fri, May 29 2020 6 Sivan 5780