I didn't grow up in New York, or the east coast. I have never met any of you,
nor have I shared in your Shabbat table or family Simchas.
Today, as a Jew, I lost a brother.
And while your family may not be my blood, your sorrows run in my veins.
I shed tears for a brother I never met, whose loss I still feel in my heart.
I hurt knowing of your pain, an unknowable, unbearable pain for a son and
brother you knew and loved, cared for and lost. A grief that bears down on
one's entire being -as a boulder on one's shoulders, a weight in one's heart,
a dragging of each step as though one's feet are made of lead. An open
mouth that can bring forth no words to express the heart and soul's grief,
that gives way to sobs and anguish and even silence to tell the unspeakable.
Each and every movement comes with pain, through pain, expressing pain.
I wasn't at Leiby's bris, I did not watch him take his first steps, or learn
the aleph beis. I didn't hear him speak and learn his first words of Torah
or echo the words of his first Rebbe. I'm not sure I could bear his loss if
I had been there and for that I admire your strength.
All I have to offer you are my words, my pain, and perhaps the small
recognition that you are not alone. I only wish I could shoulder even the
tiniest bit of grief so that you would have just a bit less. I am but one
Jew, but in this we are one family, and we all lost a brother, a son, a
neshamah; for even those of us who had no visible connection to Leiby,
we are all still connected through Hashem and Torah and our choice
to be here with you, to feel with you.
I know I cannot feel what you do, but what I do feel, I give you, in the
hopes that seeing another feel pain as you feel pain will bring us
closer. Closer together as B'nei Yisrael, closer to Hashem, closer
to the geulah.