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Good Shabbos to All
Journal Entry by Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick — December 17, 2015
Dear Family and Friends,
Today I had my third chemo treatment. So far, I am doing well and all the nurses, doctors and staff are wonderful. Today was BH (Blessed is God) better than yesterday. I am also having blood and platelet infusions a few times a week and blood work as well. My sister has come up from Florida to be with us and her children are here this weekend. My children came up to help. Some even flew in from Israel. They have been a wonderful help. The kids, still in Israel, are coming to be here. They have called almost every day. Some of my dear colleagues and friends have been calling continuously from Israel and all over the country and a special visit from Rabbi & Mrs. Reuven Bulka and Rabbi Poupko was greatly appreciated.
I am so appreciative of all the wonderful emails with words of encouragement, Hakarat Hatov and Tefillot. All of the messages have been a great source of encouragement and I thank you all.
I know it's a long way to recovery and I am willing to travel on that Journey......It's a must. There is no alternative. I am grateful for all the love and caring from my Dear friend and Doctor, Bernie Susman. I have a wonderful Hematologist, and his associates. Above all I am so fortunate to have my wonderful wife who has been at my side every moment. And my children and children-in-law to assist me. And most of all to the members of Beth Sholom and the Rochester community for all their love and assistance.
UVACHARTA B'CHAYIM.....HASHEM INSTRUCTS US TO 'CHOOSE LIFE' ...This is my time to perform this demanding Mitzvah and with Hashem's help, the source of my strength, Ezri Ma'im Hashem....My tefilot are asking Hashem to listen to the prayers of so many on my behalf. I Trust He will.
I wish everyone a wonderful Shabbos and Brachot to your families
Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick
His Child's Commentary & Lessons He Learned from Abba
16 hearts to Abba’s first post. The first post about the starting Caring Bridge, the posting platform had 71 hearts. I don't know how the hearts of the people went down 55 hearts. I thought this post was much deeper than the post that said 'Abba will be posting here.' It just goes to show, it's not the content. I'm happy there are only hearts on the Caring Bridge sharing platform. If there were likes, people would've been giving thumbs up to 'I got cancer.' I believe the heart emoji says it all.
I truly respect my father for sharing his Torah philosophy while in the darkest physical state of his life. He truly found Simcha, happiness, in the darkest of times, and shared that in the form of strength. Even in hurt, he lived the experience to the fullest.
My Abba’s first entry is very honest. He was going through a lot at the time, and he stood strong. He said he was going to make it through. He had Emunah, belief.
Friends and family visiting gives purpose, meaning and strength. The phone calls also give my father strength. It is the people visiting that is of value to my father. Those who don’t are not helping.
Abba wanted people to visit and make phone calls. Those two were really important, until you called too much. If you called on the house phone, it was too much. That thing was loud and nobody wanted to answer it. It would ring and you either had to get up from your comfortable position on the couch, or yell at everybody else in the house to answer it. The house phone ringing was the most tense thing that happened during the cancer run. It was a struggle every time, and only added to sickness. Lesson: If you're calling somebody who is healing, you call their cellphone.
The visit gave my dad more strength and life than the phone call. Seeing people meant so much to my Abba. Abba always was and remains a community leader. Seeing anybody was meaningful to Abba. Even the food delivery that was sent by the neighbors meant a lot to Abba. We didn't know the guy, but we considered it a visit, as he brought deli sandwiches. And deli gives strength and hope.
It's good to see that I'm in there. I thought I hadn't done much good. It makes me feel better as a human to have some documentation that I was a decent son.
Hakarat Hatov, recognition of my father’s good is also of huge importance.
It’s amazing how Abba shows all the Hakarat Hatov, as well. His show of the recognition of the good of other people is unparalleled. It is a great lesson in appreciation of people and what they do. His ability to note the good of so many people shows how much he appreciates life. In my last conversations with my father, he only had good to say about everybody. He truly saw good in people. I didn't think they deserve it, but my father saw good.
It would appear that Abba will keep this up. Seeing the good in each individual who is caring and appreciative is the lesson. When you see good in other people, you invest in them. You have to ask about their families. You have to listen in conversation. It's much easier to see bad. It takes less time. It’s that ability to know people’s children that Abba and good people have. As a grownup, I have learned that everybody loves when you ask about their kids. Even if their kid is a mess up.
I have no idea what the Hematologist does. There were a lot of doctors. I am sorry if I can’t follow all the issues. It's pathetic. I care. I just don't know if the doctor is dealing with blood, or bone structure, or teeth. I can follow that Abba is ‘willing to travel on that journey’ of recovery. That is not easy. That is what we have to know as people, to continue. That is what I have to know as his child. He is on a journey, and I am on it too.
My father really respected his rabbi friends, many of whom are great Tzadikim. The two that my father mentioned are with him in Olam Haba, sharing joy there. Good friends like to visit each other.
I was afraid Mommy would get left out. She wasn't mentioned till the end. Abba doesn't bring up Mommy till the third to last paragraph. I believe that to be part of his speaker's skill set. You raise the emotion and keep everybody on their seat, wondering if you're going to mention your wife.
Congregation Beth Sholom is brought up as a ‘most of all.’ His students and people who he gives to, give him strength. There is something to giving that I might understand some day. When you give to people, you must feel your own strength in what they gave you back. It's an energy thing. If I took Tai Chi I would understand it a bit better.
Family, friends and community are important in healing. So many people feel useless. In the hardest of times, my father made himself useful. He sat down and shared his message, his life. That is a gift to us all. Don't tell my friend Sammy I said this. She loves to complain. She'll start hitting me up with calls if she found out I am willing to listen.
If all were there for the first couple of weeks, it would mean something, but very little. You'll see later on, we were around. As a family, you share all, especially disease.
The lesson of the day is to CHOOSE LIFE. Abba is teaching his congregants right now. He is the embodiment of a community leader. This is his real voice. The rabbi voice is Abba’s voice. Even in hard times, he is the rabbi. He is coaching people how to care for others. People were wishing my Abba a Refuah Sheleyma, a full recovery, and he was telling them they did it right. He was telling them life is a journey, no matter what happens. It's all a journey. Choose to live it.
'Family and friends.' Abba's congregants were his friends. He gave them so much. That is what a real friend does. A real friend cares about you.
Abba was giving them more strength than they gave him. He was comforting them, 'It will be OK for you. I have cancer. You will be OK with it. The chemo will go well for you.' I always told my dad these congregants were selfish. Even when he gets cancer, they're coming to him for guidance.
Your prayers on his behalf brings the hope of his belief that H’ helps.
Lesson: What people give to each other is where hope and strength stems from. It’s a cyclical effort that strength of life is based on.
All Abba wanted was a 'Good Shabbos For All.' With all the messages of Hakarat Hatov, Choosing Life, and Journeys, Abba just wants people to have a Good Shabbos. He wants the selfish congregants to think about themselves and have a Good Shabbos, while he is going for chemo. And in our house, every Shabbat was celebrated. Abba chose life and a lot of food. We had huge meals and great family time. I owe all of my chubbiness to my parents.
Choosing life is a Mitzvah, and my father lived a life of Mitzvot in this world. Mitzvot of care for others.
(I see my commentary kind of like the Beit Yosef by R' Yosef Kairo. All great commentaries are much longer than the true work itself. Look at Torah.)
For an Aliyas Neshama for רב ישעיה בן יחזקאל זצ"ל and all the Tzadikim who made and continue to make this Olam a great life.
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Health and Healing
Humor, laughter and a positive outlook in the hard times. This includes Torah thoughts by Rabbi Kilimnick and humor from within.
With nursing facilities closed, this guy is trying to figure out why his kids are trying to break into the room, scoping it out. He's asking when his kids turned into a bunch of stalkers.
(Photo: The Guardian)