When my wife and I returned from the hospital it was evening. The Shabbat had come. Later that same evening a friend came to visit us. He had heard the sad news and, though it was a long walk from his house to ours, this had not deterred him. In his attempt to console us, he told us that earlier in his life he too had lost a child.

Yet his words did not penetrate. I had no feelings left. I could not think straight. We just sat there, my wife and I, with only one thought: Boruch... Boruch... Why...? Why...?

In my mind, helplessly, I tried to turn the clock back. I would take care that he did not go outside. Then he would not be hit by that car. Then we would not ever have had to go to the hospital, and he would be snug asleep.

No, it was no use. It just made no sense. Not long before I had tried to comfort a woman whose husband was killed in an accident. I had explained to her that she should not blame herself, as she probably did. She had sent her husband shopping, and on his way back he was run over. So she tended to dwell on the following regret: If only I had not sent him. If only I had asked someone else. Then... then... In this way, I thought, she was blaming herself.

I had tried to argue her out of this reasoning. I explained to her that her husband would have died at that very same moment even if she had not sent him shopping. His time had come. Death is an event which G‑d “does not leave to chance.” Everything is Divine Providence; everything is orchestrated by Him, down to the smallest detail. If we have any awareness of G‑d’s reality, we understand that such a drastic event as dying cannot be a matter of chance. All this I explained to the woman and she was grateful. “You are the first one who has said something sensible,” she told me.

Should all this not apply to us as well...?


The following day I told our four oldest children, one by one, of our harsh tragedy. “Boruch,” I told them, “used to call himself tzaddik — righteous, sincere, and upright and sometimes he thought that his name was tzaddik. Well, G‑d loves the righteous and he has taken Boruch to Himself. Boruch is now in Gan Eden.”


I had often explained to people how Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden or paradise, should be perceived. There is more than this world alone. There are other worlds, other states, other spheres, which are not material. In those worlds there are also active beings, among them angels and souls.

Before a person is born, he already exists as a soul in these higher worlds. When he is born the soul is connected with a body. And when a person dies, this connection is broken, and the soul returns to “the realm above.”


I knew that all of the rituals of mourning — the funeral, the shiva, seven days of mourning, and the other practices — are important for the mourners as well as for the deceased. That we “sit shiva” here is for the good of the soul there, just as the kaddish prayer has a purifying effect on the soul.

I decided to do everything as well as I could, to give Boruch all that was in my power to give him now. I was entirely occupied by this thought, and I was able to do everything just as it ought to be done. I had no time now to dwell on my sorrow. I probably gave the impression to other people that I had no emotions. But that didn’t matter.

I suddenly understood the behavior of others, who in similar circumstances had seemed so unmoved. Only one who has experienced this — may G‑d spare us — can understand it. There are two categories of people: those who have had this experience and those who have not.