At Two O'clock in the afternoon of that dreadful day, I held the lifeless body of my beautiful little son in my arms and kissed his face; knowing that the next time I would see him would be at the Cemetery on Tisha b'Av, when we would lay his young body to rest.
His face was cold, and his lips were blue. His Neshama, his Soul, had left his tiny body never to return in this World. I was sad and I was angry. WHY? WHY would a Loving G-d that I knew to be a Loving G-d take the tiniest of his children, even before my Brandon had a chance to make his impact?
For seventeen years, as I placed phylacteries on my left arm every morning, and read Morning prayers I asked G-d why. And for seventeen years, I had no answer. My answer appeared two years, six months and seven days ago when I eulogised my father at a Cemetery not fifteen miles from where my Brandon is buried.
For those of you who remember my dad, I have no real need to remind you who he was. For those of you who never had the absolute blessing of having known him, I will tell you that he was a man who was genuinely loved by every single person whose life he touched, and that he touched every person whom he had ever met. My father was, in the simplest of terms, a Tzadik. A righteous man; a man who knew who he was, and a man who was so in love with his grandchildren that his every thought and his every smile were both brought to him by them, or dedicated to them.
That being said, how could G-d not have a beautiful grandson waiting his arrival into Gan Eden, the paradise that is the Olam, haBa, the World to come. Enter my Brandon. My beautiful boy was taken to be there for his Grandfather's arrival. Who better to greet my dad in Heaven, but his Grandson whom he had not had the time to know or grow close to, as G-d's plan was different. I no longer ask why.
On Shabbat, somewhere between the Kiddush and Motzi, we parents place our hands on the heads of our children and offer our Blessing. I pardon your indulgence for, but a moment as I ask that you stand with me as I send this Blessing to my beautiful boy on the nineteenth anniversary of his passing:
Brandon, I know now that G-d has made you as Ephraim and Menashe; He has Blessed you and He has kept you; He has shined his countenance upon you and been gracious onto you; and above all, G-d has kept you with Him and has brought you Peace.
We do not always know the reasons behind the magnificent works of haShem. It is at times difficult to not know and to not understand. It can be frustrating and at times even maddening. But, for those times that we do understand, Oh, for those times, the world, even in its heightened levels of craziness becomes a truly enlightening and beautiful place.
From the Sunny Left Coast, I send Ahavah u'Vrachot, Love and Blessings.
--Rabbi Alan Abrams