We celebrated your third birthday on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in September. We were all there- your new little friends, your Ima’s friends- all of us that had come to love you so deeply since your arrival in America.
Your birthday was on Wednesday, but we celebrated it on Sunday, because Wednesday was your scheduled day at the hospital. But on this glorious day, it was all about you, Laly, a celebration of your birthday and of your love of life. It was a true American kid’s party- probably very different than the Bnei Brak celebration you would’ve had at home. But a party it was in every sense of the word- with pizza and cake, games and balloons, face paint, and piles and piles of presents…
We marveled at your bright little comments, your excited exclamations, your very essence one of beaming joy. We smiled at your typical childishness, unmarred by the reality of your very atypical childhood. And we exulted at the newfound fuzz on your head- your hair returning- a symbol of hope and optimism of a bright future ahead.
It all changed so fast. You embraced the Yomim Noraim with your three year old exuberance, while looking ahead with excitement to the joyful chagim of Sukkos and Simchas Torah.
But when Sukkos arrived, instead of rejoicing in the walls of a heiliga sukka, you lay in your hospital bed in a pediatric intensive care unit. Instead of being surrounded by doting friends over festive Yomtov seudahs, you were surrounded by medical personnel and equipment. We davened…
Our hearts were with you with your every struggling breath, we shared in the hope that was kindled with every small sign of progress, we fought along with you with our constant tefillos…
How we davened. Our tefillos, the tefillos of your American friends, joined with the innumerable tefillos and pirkei tehillim of your friends and family 6,000 miles away in Eretz Yisroel. The mitzvos, the extra chasadim, the brachos recited by our children on your behalf, Laly, were surely cherished by our Tatte at the kisei hakovod.
We drew strength from the example your dear parents set- models of calm and steady emunah, unwavering meticulous attention to Halacha in the darkest hours. We saw your Abba with his Gemara, your Ima with her siddur, true ovdei Hashem with a maturity borne not of age, but of true bitachon during this very difficult nisayon.
Laly, on Sunday, tes Cheshvan, we attended your levaya. Amidst our great pain, we noticed the crowd that had come to bid you goodbye. We saw how one special little girl from Eretz Yisroel had managed to touch the lives of so many people. We said goodbye with tears…
Laly, during the short time that we were privileged to know you and your wonderful parents, you changed something in each of us. You entered our hearts, taught us to embrace life, and to face challenges with emunah and grace. We will value forever the time we had together. We cherish the deep and lasting friendship that we formed with your Ima and Abba- strengthened by our shared memories of our precious Laly.
Laly, the piece of our hearts that was you is now shattered with longing. But we know that Hashem, with His great rachamim, will surely heal the hearts of all His children, with the arrival of Mashiach, b’karov.
Your 58th street friends