Today, David knows nothing. Deep inside me, there is a numbness, and emptiness that I cannot escape. A fog of melancholy seems to surround me, as I struggle to deal with the sudden and tragic passing of Zev and Rochel Symons OBM, of Sydney.
I knew Zev only as an acquaintance. I would see him at during his regular visits to Melbourne for the summer Yarchei Kallah program, or at Simchas in Sydney or in Melbourne. He always had a smile and a warm greeting for me. I recall him years ago as a bochur in Melbourne, studying at Yeshivah Gedolah, where he was an avid student and chosid of my late grandfather, Reb Zalman Serebryanski. When asked complex questions seeking guidance in study and life direction by his students, Reb Zalman might sometime respond “you should be a good man”; Zev really personified the tmimus and menshlechkeit reflected in this simple adage.
As the events unfolded last night at the Krinsky-Gopin wedding some time after 10pm, we were struck by the suddenness of it, and in particular, its juxtaposition to a simcha. The police had arrived and were talking to family members and others. Bits of detail filtered out to the bystanders: they were on their way to the wedding, they were not contactable all afternoon, the crash had occurred in Glenrowan (“where is that?”).
Women stood and cried openly; men struggled to find expression for their shock. Members of the wedding party in particular were shattered by the news. How could this happen?
There are a multitude of emotional responses to this: an “anger” at G-d for allowing such a thing to happen; awful feelings of “if only …” especially in the context of their trip down to Melbourne for the wedding (although they had done this drive many times before without incident); perhaps a passive acceptance that G-d had decreed this was their time, and that we cannot hope to understand His reason for taking them. “Boruch Dayan HaEmes” is how we respond. It is an acknowledgement that only One has the true and complete perspective on this world, and we are left to meander along in this Olam HaSheker.
While I know deep down that we must accept this tragedy with pure emunah, the hollow feeling refuses to lift. We are reminded too often of the fragility of our lives in this world, but it does little more than put other events into context. In an instant, two beautiful people have been reduced to a statistic and a few lines in the local newspaper. For those who were priviledged to know them, their memory will live on, and their legacy continue through their family. May they act as good advocates before G-d for their children, grandchildren, and our community at large, and may G-d comfort their family and friends – HaMakom Yenacham …