The levaya of the young gaon Rabbi Yitzchak Lieberman zt"l was especially painful. He was niftar (died) at the age of only 31, after an intense and particularly aggressive illness which lasted only a few months, in the prime of his life and with his entire future before him…the whole crowd was crying bitterly.
But the most distressing moment was after the levaya, when six-year-old Rafael, who was extremely connected to his father, presented a firm request: "I want to see Abba's kever (grave)."
Those present exchanged frightened looks. How does one handle such an uncommon request? What does one say to a six-year-old who wants to see his father's kever, which was only dug a few hours ago and now was filled again with mounds of earth, after placing on it the burial stone…
After some discussion, the adults concluded they had no choice. The young orphan's demand was unyielding; they had to take him to the kever. Shoulders heaving from sobs and throats choked with tears, they brought the child to his father's kever.
Rafael stood there, studying the kever. He had to know how Abba looked now…now Abba, for him, was a mound of earth. Until he'll be able to process this, Abba will be 'wearing' white marble with black letters engraved on it.
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When the masechtos (tractates) of Mishnayos were being distributed to those who came to the shivah, and each person accepted upon himself to learn one l'ilui nishmas the niftar, six-year-old Rafael asked to receive Maseches Pei'ah: "Abba had started to learn Maseches Pei'ah with me, and we hadn't finished it yet," he said. "So I want to learn this masechta, and I'll finish what we had started, and it will be l'ilui nishmaso."
The young gaon Rabbi Yitzchak Lieberman zt"l left four young orphans behind. Four orphans who had such a special Abba, and now they only have his kever. The oldest is only nine years old, and the youngest two, and none of them are mature enough to understand the depth of the tragedy. None of them can fully understand what it means to be orphaned.
"We can't bring back their father," said one of the friends of Rabbi Yitzchak zt"l. "But to relieve the difficulty just a bit is indeed possible. We can help them live respectably. Contributing to them enables them to receive the therapies they so desperately need, plus the support and the follow-up that are so essential. Also, if they could have a trust fund set up to allow them to get married when they come of age bs"d- this would help greatly, and this we can do- this we must do!"