Racheli Muchnik – www.rachelisthoughts.com
One of the first things I did the night after my brother Ariel passed away was search my email for our previous exchanges. I found the most recent one, from one week before his sudden passing.
On Sunday morning, I had emailed him a question, as I so often did while preparing for a class. I was preparing to teach my students a Parsha class the next day.
“Hey Ariel, I’ve heard the phrase of “murgen vet zain gur andresh” – where is that from? A story/anecdote?”
I had heard the phrase used amongst Chassidim, encouraging each other to make resolutions, make tomorrow a better day. It translates as “tomorrow will be totally different”.
Whenever I needed something sourced, I’d check in with Ariel – he seemed to get me answers faster than any other web-based search engine could.
He didn’t let me down this time.
A few minutes later, I received a response:
“Reb Zushe of Anipole would say it every night in Kriyas Shema Al Hamita [the evening Shema prayer]. But then he would challenge himself – “But Zushe, you said that last night?!” And then he would respond to himself – “But tonight I MEAN IT!”
And the tradition continued: The Chassidishe Temimim (students) in the Yeshivah in Lubavitch would also say it during Kriyas Shema Al Hamita.
So I heard from a Mashpia [mentor] in Yeshivah in Kfar Chabad 20 years ago. (And at that Farbrengen he said it too!)”
I was so excited by his detailed and speedy reply, so I immediately responded:
“Ahhhh – Ariel I love you – you’re the best ! 🙂
This is perfect!
I almost gave up on finding out the details…”
Before I hit send, I was about to delete the words “I love you”. Not sure why – I guess it suddenly felt awkward. But then I decided to leave it. I thought to myself, “How often do I verbalize that to him? When was the last time I told him I loved him?” So I left it. I never imagined that it would be my last opportunity to say those words to him before his passing.
I am grateful for the opportunity I had to let him know that I loved him and appreciated him.
Each day that passes, the pain grows stronger and deeper. As the shock slowly lifts, and the bitter reality begins to sink in, I feel an eerie emptiness in my heart. During the day – I keep busy, the children make me laugh, and I feel I can move forward. But at night, the heavy emotions rise. It’s a roller-coaster of feelings! Sadness for the loss. Emptiness because I feel a part of me has died. Endless tears for his wife Miriam. Guilt over not having made more opportunities to enjoy the time we had him. Embarrassment over not strengthening our relationship more. Grief. Confusion because I’m not sure why it hurts so much if this doesn’t affect my daily life like it does for his wife and children. Frustration with people who don’t acknowledge my pain. Irritability at ‘small-talk’ and happy faces. Guilt to be alive. An overall heaviness and sadness that is not possible to put into words…
So I pull out his last email. And it helps. He is talking to me! He is reminding me of something so important – and so easy to forget during this tough time; Murgen vet zain gur andresh – tomorrow will be COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. It is going to be so much better!!! As black as this night feels – I have a crystal clear bright morning awaiting me. Life will be better. People around me will be better. I will be better. True, I said that last night, but tonight I really mean it!!
One morning, we will all wake up to the incredible news – to the final Geulah – the final Redemption. That morning will come right after a night as black as tonight feels.
Tomorrow will be so different. Tomorrow Moshiach will be here.
Ariel – thank you for leaving me with words of hope.