Rabbi Hagai Lundin
Rabbi Hagai LundinCourtesy

I met Dr. Dodi Tobin zt"l several years ago. Someone with an American accent called and asked me about the book, "Orot haTeshuva" [Lights of Repentance]. She explained to me that she organizes Torah classes as part of the Beit Shemesh Women's Seminary "Matan", and in recent years she is interested in the teachings of Rav Kook. Our study relationship continued in classes and questions.

About a year and a half ago, she asked to meet for an urgent consultation. We met at Machon Meir in Jerusalem, where she told me - with amazing composure - that she had been diagnosed with cancer (she was 55 years old). She had one chilling question: "How do I make the best use of the time remaining to me?" She added that she had spoken to someone who suggested that she focus on praying to "abolish the decree".

I told her my opinion which was that it is certainly necessary to pray for a complete recovery, and at the same time, to internalize that the end may be different; so, it would be worthwhile to take advantage of these months to study Torah and pray; for closure with family and friends; and primarily to be filled with happiness for all the life we have experienced, and the good that we will leave in the world after us. That is what she did, up to the last second.

A week ago, Wednesday, her husband, Marc, may he live a long life, WhatsApped me that her condition had worsened and asked that we come to study Orot haTeshuva with her. Unfortunately, I did not understand the seriousness of the situation and postponed the visit to Monday. On Sunday morning, the sad message was received - Baruch Dayan HaEmet [Blessed be the true Judge]. She passed away surrounded by her family during the song "The soul is Yours and the body is Yours".

It is worth hearing this story in the month of Elul to be inspired by the righteous women and men who walk among us. Women and men who outwardly look like regular people, but who turn out to be angels; who take advantage of every second of their lives—even when death is in front of their eyes - to stand upright before their Heavenly Father when the day comes.

When I heard of her passing, I remembered the eulogy that the son of the Gaon Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Godelberg (ha-Garzan) zt"l, said about his father; statements that also describe Dodi zt"l, and should be in front of our eyes, especially in the month of Elul:

"Father was a happy man. For 90 years, father lived in a world of pure happiness. Never, not even once, did he desire something that he didn't have, nor did he shy away from something that he did have. He walked upright just as God had made him. The concepts of 'pressure', 'shock', or 'tension' never affected him. His world was rich, complete and peaceful – up to the day he died."

May his soul, her soul, and all souls - be bound up in the Bond of Life. Amen.