I went to a funeral yesterday.
Sarah, age 42. Sarah* was a social worker, loved and beloved by many in the community. The chessed she performed throughout her lifetime was unparalleled.
She was my aunt’s younger sister and we overlapped at our family’s many s’machot. Her smile ever-present, Sarah had an air of confidence about her; never haughty, she embodied poise and elegance. Her outfits at each simcha bespoke beauty, tzniut, and elegance; she would not compromise on any of the three. Her passion for family abounded. She took off from work before each of her sibling’s s’machot, helping the ba’al/ba’alat simcha coordinate many of the details. Whether it be buying the paper goods, dishing out the soup, arranging for make-up for the pre-Shabbos family pictures or helping her elderly parents, I cannot remember a time when a simcha did not run smoothly with Sarah at the helm. Sarah was the most normal, graceful woman one could meet.
Sarah never married.
At the funeral, one of the maspeidim noted that recently, someone casually asked Sarah at a wedding where her husband was. She joked with them, “If you know, please let me know!”
Her brother closed his hespeid by asking her for mechila. Then he asked everyone sitting at the levaya — and there must have been at least two hundred people, if not more - if they could also be mochel her, if she ever intentionally or unintentionally hurt them.
Pumfakert. (Just the opposite). We should be asking Sarah for mechila.
How many people in that room knew one single male? I would venture to say most. How many people tried to set her up? I would venture to say not most.
Perhaps, I am 100% wrong. Perhaps, in reality, every person in that room who was acquainted with Sarah, whether from school, work, the community, or anywhere in between, tried to set her up. Tried to think of the single guys that they knew and set her up on one date. Perhaps.
And I am not negating those who did try and those who made a phone call or two on her behalf. But from what I know, the people who made even one phone call are few and far between. People are busy. People are married and have kids and work and go to school and send kids to school and cook for Shabbos and prepare for Yom Tov and arrange playdates and clean the house and the list goes on and on. I get it. But if we as a community looked ourselves in the mirror, we would see that this is no more than a diversion. This is really no excuse.
Every person in that room should not be giving mechila to Sarah. Every person in that room should be asking mechila from Sarah. Because of their actions, Sarah and possibly untold generations of bnei and bnos Torah will never exist. Because every person in that room could not take the few minutes, or even hours, to make some phone calls and set her up.
Sarah, I ask you for mechila. I only tried to set you up once. I davened for you every day for more than 10 years, but only once could I pick up the phone and try to arrange for you to go out with a guy. I should have done more. I could have davened more and I could have picked up the phone twice instead of once.
Let this be a wake-up call to all of us. If one person picks up the phone once for one single person, it was worth all of the effort to write this article.
Bila hamavet lanetzach umacha Hashem dima’a mai’al kol panim. Tehi nishmata tzerura btzror hachaim.