The incomprehensible tragedy that occurred in Williamsburg early Sunday morning didn’t only devastate two highly respected families; it shattered the heart of the Jewish community. When word first came of the car crash that claimed the lives of Reb Nachman, z”l, and Mrs. Raizy Glauber, née Silberstein, a”h, the hearts of total strangers were rent asunder. Heartfelt tefillos were uttered amid hopes that their son, born prematurely after his parents were killed, would survive. But Heaven willed otherwise, and early Monday morning, the Glauber and Silberstein families and the entire community suffered yet another terrible blow when the infant passed away.
This heartbreaking catastrophe came only days after two other tragedies shook the community: Habachur Yiddi Landau of Boro Park collapsed and passed away while dancing at a chasunah, and Habachur Shulim Dov Hirsh of Kiryas Yoel was niftar after suffering severe burns.
The Misaskim page lists all the aveilim sitting shivah for these three tragedies; what it can’t possibly describe is the effect on the community at large.
This is a time for introspection and soul-searching. It is also a time for all of us to fortify ourselves with emunah, which is perhaps the most fitting tribute that can be offered in memory of a couple whose level of emunah was exemplary.
In an exhibition of strength that can only stem from incredible closeness to Hashem, at the levayah, Rabbi Yitzchak Silberstein, the grief-stricken father of Mrs. Raizy Glauber, shouted out the words of the first of the 13 Declarations of Ani Maamin: “I believe with complete faith that the Creator, blessed is His Name, creates and guides all creatures…”
“When Moshiach comes, all of our many questions will be answered. Yes, we wait; how we wait for him!” Reb Yitzchak cried out.
Writing in the Warsaw ghetto amidst indescribable torment and after enduring unspeakable suffering, Harav Klonymus Kalman Shapira, the Piaseczner Rebbe, Hy”d, addressed the notion of tragedies that seem to be beyond the natural realm.
“This is a period of strict judgment without the disguise of teva, and it means that when we will return to Hashem and be mispallel to Him, our salvation will also come without any disguise, above the world of teva,” says the Rebbe.
He added that not only are the suffering and the salvation above the rules of teva; the ability of Yidden to strengthen themselves during the most difficult times is equally not b’derech hateva.
It seems impossible to comprehend how Yidden manage to stay strong in their emunah during the most trying times. But it is this incredible fortitude that helps turn the open revelation of pure judgment into an open revelation of pure mercy, mercy that is also above and beyond the realm of teva.
Our collective hearts have all been pierced by tragedy; we have witnessed how giants of spirit have exhibited the loftiest levels of emunah. May we speedily merit to experience the revelation of pure Heavenly mercy.