By COLlive staff
The third in the series of the Rebbe‘s teachings on lifecycle events Advice for Life: From Life to Life, discusses the Rebbe’s approach to death and mourning.
Compiled and adapted by Dovid Zaklikowski, it is the first such compilation of the Rebbe in English.
“The Rebbe wrote tens of thousands of condolence letters. They were often simple—a few lines and nothing more. In truth, there is little to say to someone who is experiencing a calamity,” says the introduction.
“These quotes are culled mostly from letters and private conversations, and adapted from responses the Rebbe gave to those who inquired about how to move forward following bereavement.”
The publication covers such topics as the soul, the mourner, the comforter, memorializing, kaddish and yahrtzeit. In an easy to read format, pleasant design and photos, the booklet is a response to the questions many of us ask after the passing of a loved one or friend.
The booklet describes the events of April 1956, seven years after its establishment of Kfar Chabad, when the village experienced a crushing loss. Terrorists entered the vocational school and murdered 5 students and their teacher. This tragic event was preceded by the murder of another teacher on the outskirts of the village. The community was stunned.
The residents, who had endured so much during their lifetime, were worn down by tragedy. Many raised the idea of deserting the village and moving to more populated locations away from the Egyptian border. They wrote to the Rebbe.
“Only after the seven days of mourning did the Rebbe respond in a telegram addressed to the entire community,” the story is told in From Life to Life. “The Rebbe wrote that he is taking part in their fasting and prayers, and with sincere hope, ‘you should overcome every obstacle, and strengthen all of your personal and communal endeavors.'”
In a letter to the village’s rabbi, the Rebbe laid out his basic philosophy when facing tragedy: “Healing comes about through positive actions; in this case, the priority is to develop the village even more than before.”
Dispersed amongst tens of quotes, four accounts, such as the above, give perspective of how the Rebbe directed a community, individuals and how the Rebbe himself mourned after the Rebbetzin’s passing, are sure to place tears in the eyes of all.