Hayeled Yitzchok Sheffield, Z”l

Yitzchok Sheffield
Yitzchok Sheffield

Our family and the Baltimore community were shocked by the sudden passing of Yitzchok Sheffield, z”l. on the first day of Chol Hamoed Sukkos, 5782.

When Yitzchok was born on the second day of Rosh Hashanah 5781, he filled our family with light. He was found to have achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. We knew we were fortunate to have the privilege of raising him. In naming him Yitzchok, we davened that he would emulate his namesake and great-grandfather, Reb Yitzchok Eichenthal, z”l, and not let physical challenges define him. We anticipated helping him accept having a different appearance and face whatever challenges Hashem had designed for him.

Achondroplasia requires significant medical monitoring during the first year of life in order to detect possible acute or chronic medical conditions resulting from the condition. Because there is no treatment for achondroplasia, with the guidance of daas Torah, Yitzchok participated in a clinical trial that studied a drug aimed at improving the health of children with achondroplasia. As a result, in addition to the standard medical care for achondroplasia that he received at home, Yitzchok traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, 10 times, where he was poked and prodded frequently. Medical care, with everything that it involves, was a regular part of his life.

Despite his many medical encounters and frequent traveling, Yitzchok maintained a calm, happy demeanor. He was not easily upset, and calmly weathered the storms of daily injections, disrupted sleep, and new people and places. When he was disturbed, he was easily comforted. He soaked up the excitement of our sometimes rambunctious house and his brothers’ love for him. He graciously shared huge smiles with the many people he encountered and bestowed a sense of calm on those who were in his presence.

 

Yitzchok Sheffield
Yitzchok with, ybl”c, his brother Elchanan Simcha, at his bar mitzvah.

As Yitzchok was very young, we do not have many memories that comfort us. Instead, we are comforted by observing the many people who were changed as a result of their being a part of “Team Yitzchok.” Many people stretched themselves to support our family through Yitzchok’s journey. Others were inspired to grow in their ruchniyus after spending time in his presence.

It is our fervent wish that Yitzchok continue to live on from his place near the Kisei HaKavod. We have started two initiatives in his memory.

First, because Yitzchok inspired us with his calm acceptance of the challenges that he faced, we ask that each person reading this bring one “Yitzchok moment” into his/her life. When we face a challenging situation, sometimes it can be hard to respond calmly and recognize that the challenge is from Hashem. In a “Yitzchok moment,” we respond with a tiny measure of increased acceptance and emunah. By doing so, we help perpetuate Yitzchok’s memory. It would be a great chizuk to our family if you would share your Yitzchok moment at yitzchokmoments@gmail.com.

Second, we have launched Yitzchok’s Toy Box, a gemach for toys and equipment that are frequently recommended by therapists. Parents can borrow the toys from the gemach and try them out before purchasing them for their children, to assure that they actually meet their needs.

Parents can also donate items that they are no longer using.

We have branches in Chicago, Houston, Lakewood, Baltimore, Atlanta, Detroit, Yerushalayim and Beitar. To access Yitzchok’s Toy Box, make a donation or start a branch in your city, please contact us at 443-879-3169 (US), 053-316-1089 (EY), or YitzchoksToyBox@gmail.com