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Rabbi Begun, Beloved Machon Meir Founder, Discusses Death

Rabbi Dov Begun, 70, explained to Arutz-7 how he deals with family tragedies, another of which befell him this week when his toddler grandson died.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 1/31/2011, 12:12 PM / Last Update: 1/31/2011, 2:13 PM

Rabbi Dov Begun, 70, explained to Arutz-7 how he deals with family tragedies, another of which befell him this week. His toddler grandson Shilo Ariel Weinberger passed away after a difficult illness; nearly seven years ago, his son Ariel succumbed to kidney disease.

“Our sorrow is deep and great,” Rabbi Begun told Hizky Ezra, “but today, when we got up from the shiva mourning period, we decided that we must restrict our sadness, and that we must look ahead, despite what happened. We must go forward.”

The gentle, always smiling rabbi is widely identified with the Meir Institute (Machon Meir) that he founded for beginners in Judaism in the spirit of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook. He grew up in secular Kibbutz Mishmar HaSharon, together with his childhood friend Ehud Barak.

“I told my close family today," Rabbi Begun said, "that Rabbi Akiva said, ‘The world is judged in goodness.’ This statement seems to be self-contradictory: ‘judgment’ implies strict law, while ‘goodness’ implies the attribute of compassion. I explained that Rabbi Akiva’s greatness was that he was able to see the compassion even in the attribute of justice. I hope that we will be able to walk in his path, and to see the good in the attribute of law. We must bless G-d for the bad just as for the good, and we must know that all comes from G-d.”

After weeks in one of the more difficult wings of Hadassah Hospital, that of child oncology, “I can say that when you see all the dedication and love that goes on there, it’s just unbelievable. You see there all that is good in humanity.”

“Although the mourning was a family matter,” Rabbi Begun said, “we saw an amazing phenomenon of thousands of people in Israel and around the world praying for the little toddler Shilo Ariel. On behalf of my family, I want to thank all of them. It is incredible that the soul of a sweet two-and-a-half-year-old child whom we loved very much and who underwent not-simple sufferings – an understatement – merited thousands of people with the chance to pray, love, show kindness and the like.”

There is no question that Shilo Ariel, of blessed memory, had a special soul,” the rabbi concludes. “We believe in the Revival of the Dead, and with this we try and proceed forward. This is the way of the world. Let us pray that we hear only good tidings in the Nation of Israel.”