My beloved father passed away last Sunday, March 8, 12th Adar, at 5:55 a.m. and his funeral service was at 3:00 that afternoon. Shiva was held this past week at my parents' house, and we got up midday Friday because of the onset of Shabbos.
There is much to say about the week of shiva, about my father's last days, and about the man himself, but now is not the time. Suffice is to say that Jacob Adler was a loved, respected and admired man by all whose path crossed his.
Life works rather mysteriously. I've written in the past about my father's early years and the fact that he lost his father when he was only 6 1/2, and a baby sister was born two months after the father died. There were also two other sisters between my father and the baby.
Unfortunately, one sister died of acute appendicitis in a neighboring town during the Holocaust, and the youngest sister died along with my grandmother in their hometown, slaughtered by the Nazis. My father and one sister were sole survivors.
A number of years ago, my parents traveled to Israel together for the first time and went to Yad Vashem. My parents thought that they should register my grandmother's name at least, but lo and behold, when they looked up her name, it had already been registered, by a former neighbor. To say my father was emotionally moved is an understatement. He so wanted to be able to seek out that former neighbor and thank her for remembering his mother, but she had already passed away.
About a year or so ago, after seeing several reminders in Jewish newspapers for people to register names of those who perished in the Holocaust, my mother and father decided that my father's two younger sisters should also be remembered at Yad Vashem. My mother completed the form, sent it in and was told it had been received, but it could take up to a year or more to actually do the formal registration.
Every few weeks while I thought of it, I checked the Yad Vashem website for the names to see if they were already listed. Deep down, I always hoped that the names would appear in my father's lifetime so that he could be at rest knowing that his sisters also had a final and proper resting place...in an archives at least, if not in real life.
When my father passed away on Sunday, I even checked the website, and was disappointed to not see my aunts' names. If I recall, I even checked on Thursday evening, when I came home from the shiva house to sleep in my own home.
I just looked at the website before I began to write this post, and lo and behold there were my aunts' names and brief description of when they died. I started to weep.
The shiva is over; the neshama (soul) of my father was said to be hovering in the home for the week. Tonight we went back to my parents' house after Shabbos to take the customary short walk that some people do after getting up from shiva, the neshama (soul) then taking its leave, rising toward the heavens.
How timely for these Yad Vashem listings to appear now, at the end of shiva, with my father's neshama departing. I am grateful as well as awestruck.
Indeed a sign of Hashgacha Pratis at work.
My father can now rest in eternal peace, his soul reunited with those of his loved ones.
May my father, grandmother, grandfather and aunts be united in a better place.