I decided last night to work late on my homework, get up early, and again chip away at it. All because I knew that this afternoon I would spend my time crying and comforting the people around me when we buried a young man whose accidental death sent the community into a tailspin this Shabbat.
It was brutal. First, the levaya at the yeshiva where the young man spent so much of his time, and where three rabbis tried, but failed, to make sense of a senseless death. Then the boy's father got up to speak, and the crying from the women's section was so loud that we could barely hear his words, often drowned out by his own tears.
First the women, and then the men, left the building and followed the hearse down the street before it took off for the cemetery.
Then the burial. Hundreds waited for a third sister, whose plane had just come in from England, to arrive before lowering the casket into the ground. Please. The first sounds of dirt hitting the coffin (by city law, the dead can be buried in shrouds but then placed in coffins before being interred) were too much for us and we started again to cry .
After the men had left and the mourners were comforted by walking through a line men and women on either side, I went to the new grave site. It seemed so cold in its newness. Then my friend Chava called my attention to the sky - it was vivid pink, purple, gold and gray. in other words, beautiful.
It was as though Hashem Himself was welcoming our young bochur home.