The terrible news I had anticipating while I was maniacally ironing table cloths arrived. Rafi Lehmann, almost 28, almost a bridegroom, almost a rabbi, died after a month of difficult hospitalization. The funeral was yesterday.

It isn't often where you attend a funeral where the eulogies are puncuated by wails of grief. It isn't often where the gaveside portion of a funeral is attended by two hundred people. It isn't often where shoveling in of the earth is begun by the parents of the the deceased. Again and again as relatives and friends grasped the shovels to do their turn at covering the dead, a wail would rise out of their bellies as they unwillingly did their last act for Rafi.

Usually at a funeral one shovels until exhaustion. At Rafi's you knew to limit yourself to only a few shovels full because so many were there to take part in the awful mitzvah.

The Rabbi who recited the season's version of the El Maleh Rachamim did it with a choked voice and then covered his face to hide his tears. The funeral director was weeping.

The synagogue portion of the funeral was filled with words, and punctuated by weeping. The grave side portion of the funeral was appropriately, nearly devoid of words and was instead nearly entirely about actions.

May we never, any of us, need to attend such a funeral again.


  1. Indeed, may we never, ever know from this type of funeral again.

    May Rafi's parents, brother, his bride to be and his sister-in-law to be,, feel the comfort of G-d's embrace. No parent should ever be faced with the burring of their own, it goes against nature. The pain is unimaginable. I remember Rafi from when he was a boy in Kadima and USY, Ramah and LTI. The world has indeed lost a rightious soul. May his memory live on forever, as a good name always does. May his family be comforted at something for which seems there is comfort. May Rafi rest in peace.

  2. I know the pain from having to attend a funeral for our 29 year old daughter-it has now been 15 yrs. but not a day goes by without a thought of her. The only comfort comes as you said from feeling God's embrace for us and for her.

  3. do you know if rafi's family has requested a specific tzedakah for donations, etc? i knew rafi once, but have long been out of touch through the years. i would like to honor his memory in some way, but don't know who to ask for this info.

    thank you.

  4. Well, it is a little hard to reply to your request if you post as Anynymous...but please do email me at perhaps I can be of help.

    Sarah in nyc

  5. sorry for the trouble. i would like to remain anonymous; i assumed that it would not be an issue for you to list whichever tzedakah the Lehmann's had specified. i would prefer to donate in Rafi's memory to whichever tzedaka his family prefers; however, if you are uncomfortable posting it, i will simply give to a "generic" place. i do not know you and am not comfortable emailing you. sorry for the trouble.

  6. "sorry for the trouble. i would like to remain anonymous..... "i do not know you and am not comfortable emailing you"

    I find this very odd. Through this blog, you have access to who I am. My real name is on this blog and you can feel free to Google who I am.

    If you are truly eager to shield your identity from me, you can easily set up a free email account from which to send me an email.

    Your insistance on anonymity creates an imbalance that frankly, makes me uncomfortable.


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