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The cousin I wish I knew!

Friday, 29 March, 2019 - 2:53 pm

As I make my way back to Bozeman for Shabbos, I reflect on my week away. I was honored to represent Montana at the AIPAC policy conference in D.C. and meet with lovers of Israel of all political persuasions. I had the opportunity to pray for our community at my Rebbe’s resting place in Queens and I joyously danced at the Brooklyn wedding of my dear friend Akiva and his bride Esther. Yet, sadly I also spent a few hours at the gut-wrenching funeral of my cousin Moshe Hirsch of Woodmere. Moshe’s wife Malkie is my second cousin and, while we didn’t grow up together, our families are close at heart.

In this week’s Torah portion, Shemini, we read about Aaron, the High Priest, mourning the untimely passing of his sons Nadav and Avihu. They were holy, they were chosen for sanctification, Aaron still had two living sons Elazar and Eitamar, but the pain was raw, the hurt was unbearable and the only option that was viable for Aaron was silence. Words don’t cut it when the young are ripped from us, leaving, in Moshe’s case, his widow Malkie and five beautiful Kinderlach Dovid, Nisson, Yosef, Gavriel and Rosie shattered. As I listened to the eulogies, I realized that Moshe was incredibly kind, and I wished I had the honor of knowing him.  His family love was palpable, and he spent every free moment with his children, praying together in the Shul he helped build, attending school events and, together with Malkie, creating a home of joy and kindness.

I will land in Bozeman, G-d willing, in a few hours and I just want to hug my kiddos and never let go. Moshe went to work Wednesday morning as a healthy man and passed without any warning while at his desk. I know he’d do anything for one more kiss, one more father-child learning session, one more outing with his kiddos. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I resolved to be a father that’s more present. Community work can wait, responding to texts can wait, worrying about the finances can wait; cousin Moshe, like Aaron, taught me that moments with our children are precious and I’d rather be remembered for the extra hug than for the quickest “retweet”.

Time is a gift; don’t waste it!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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