Dear Rabbi Fletcher,
I am writing this letter because I wanted to express my gratitude
to you for your guidance in a very sensitive and delicate matter.
My father, zichrono le'brachah, who passed away this past spring,
had been sick for the past three years with kidney failure. During
those years, we had many near misses. Yet it wasn't until I attended
your talk at Har Menuchos, and in our subsequent private consultation,
that I understood that I should take advantage of this time to discuss
with my father his wishes, and to plan accordingly.
I was surprised to learn that my father had a very clear idea
of what he wanted. He asked us to purchase a plot adjacent to his
parents and grandparents. Had I not spoken with him directly, I
would not have realized that this location would be his first choice,
and therefore I would not have been able to fill his request.
I understand that there are financial advantages to taking care
of these matters well in advance, as we did. Yet for me, any financial
consideration pales in comparison to the emotional benefits of having
everything arranged in advance.
The experience of being an onain - a mourner before the burial
- was one of the most harrowing and unsettling experiences of my
life. There is simply no way to describe the turmoil and confusion
one is suddenly plunged into when the time comes.
In a family such as ours, where arrangements had to be made immediately
for both interstate and international travel, the travel arrangements
alone can be overwhelming. There were so many people to notify with
details of the funeral.
Yet there was tremendous comfort in knowing that my father was
taken care of, and would be taken care of in the most mechubad and
kosher way possible.
I have no doubt that as a result of your guidance, much conflict,
tension, and strife was avoided in my family among the mourners.
The night before my father passed away, I spoke with my Rav on
the phone. "Tzippora", he told me, "it is almost
time. It is time to start learning the halochos of aveilus. People
think it's morbid. It's not morbid. It is for the sake of your father's
I believe his advice applies not only to the learning of halochah,
but also to the logistical instruction you gave me to choose and
purchase a plot. As a result of our following your advice, no decision
that concerned my father's eternal welfare was made in last minute
Yours In Gratitude,