We arrived in Israel later that evening – just in time for the baby – but no bris; it was a girl!

Rabbi Shemtov had still not regained consciousness. His eldest son, Mendel, had flown from New York over a week ago and – upon our arrival – was still at his bedside waiting for a good turn of events.

Less than two days after we arrived, Shabbos, Tammuz 5 (June 14), our dear and good friend, Rabbi Bentzion Shemtov, passed to his eternal rest.

It was an occasion we would have gladly postponed for another thirty years, but we mortals have no jurisdiction over these matters. Roselyn and I, at least, had the consolation of the zechus (merit) of saying farewell, personally, to our beloved “Shemmy.” (As recounted earlier, we were only there due to the Rebbe’s prophetic vision!)

The town of Kfar Chabad held a meeting during which it was decided that the funeral should take place at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Rabbi Sudak, a son-in-law who lives in London, would be landing at 5:30 p.m. The burial would be on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem, our Holy City.

All information regarding the funeral was announced on the radio.

At 3:30, work at Kfar Chabad came to a standstill.

Every resident of Kfar Chabad – men, women and children – plus many hundreds from other towns and areas all around Israel – gathered to pay their last respects. Rabbi Shemtov was placed upon a bier draped in his tallis. The yeshiva bochurim and others carried him. Every few minutes the bearers were changed. The procession made innumerable stops – the yeshiva, a school and so on. For one solid hour he was carried through the roads and pathways of Kfar Chabad, accompanied and followed by every person of the village, men and women, boys and girls and children. Even babies were pushed along by their mothers.

The summer’s heat was terrific and everyone was perspiring freely. Yet, for the whole of the sixty minutes’ walk, no one left the procession. Rabbi Shemtov had been their friend and they were proud to have the zechus to bid him farewell.

Buses were chartered for the mourners – and everyone was a mourner – to take them to the Mount of Olives.

My nephew (by marriage), Rabbi Moshe Edrey, drove me and a couple of others in his car to meet Rabbi Sudak at the airport. The plane arrived on time from London. A car drew alongside the airplane at the end of the runway, where Nachman was whisked away to the terminal building. Customs and immigration were mere formalities and within minutes of the plane landing on the tarmac, Nachman was with us on the road to Jerusalem.

The burial plot was about halfway up the mountain, a very stiff climb indeed. From this site on the Mount of Olives, one could see a complete and beautiful panoramic view of Jerusalem, including the other six famous and notable hills, which together make up our Holy City. In this unique and privileged spot, we buried our dear friend.

Of course, death is not the end; rather it is the beginning of eternal life.