Mazal Tov During a Funeral

Monday, 19 January, 2015 - 6:45 am

 Yesterday I had a Mazal Tov, a tragic Levaya (funeral), and then another Mazal Tov. How? Here is the story: On Wednesday afternoon I traveled to Israel to officiate at the Bar Mitzvah ceremony of my dear Bar Mitzvah-student, just as was planned close to a year and half ago.

I was looking forward to the following day, as a joyous and happy one, and indeed it was. The Bar Mitzvah boy did an outstanding job. He led some parts of the service as the Chazzan, he read from the Torah like a real pro, and said a wonderful speech about the weekly Torah portion.

During the preparations for the Bar Mitzvah ceremony, I received a very sad message, which made me quite sad, personally as well as on a communal level.

Rabbi Mordechai Ashkenazy, the chief Rabbi of the Chabad ‘Capital’ in Israel had passed away suddenly, at the age of only 70 years. He was the revered Rabbi of Kfar Chabad for 40 years.

It happens to be that his oldest son, Meir, is the husband of my oldest sister. This therefore touched me personally, and I felt great pain. Immediately after the Bar Mitzvah celebration I quickly made myself on the way, and managed to take part at the Levaya (funeral). 
In between all the weeping and pain, a community representative stood up, and as is the custom in Israel, read out loud the decision which was made by the community heads before the funeral, that the eldest son of the Rabbi is appointed to fill the place of his great father, and is now the new Rabbi of Kfar Chabad. The audience, with tears in their eyes, declared “Mazal Tov, Mazal Tov”.

This morning I returned home to Luzern with a great pain and with joy at the same time. This reminded me once again, that we are not in charge of our lives, and that it is G-d who runs the world.
“ A mensh tracht, un G-tt lacht” (man makes plans and G-d laughs)

I wish my dear brother in law, Rabbi Meir Ashkenazy and my sister Rebbetzin Paya, much success in your new position in serving the community. May you be comforted through your public work and great responsibility.

Shabbat Shalom from Luzern



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