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A Final Wish

Gila Arnold

Dina’s body lay on the bed; her neshama had already broken free. She saw her family bent over the empty body, heard the sobs of her husband — it would be hard for Menachem without her — and the wails of her girls. Rivkaleh and Tzippora would be okay, she knew. They had their own families to comfort them. But Shevy, her little Shevy — the cries of her youngest were sharpest of all, and in this painful moment of separation, Dina felt reproached. She had not married off her Shevy before departing the wor

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

room with light Ribbono Shel Olam! she cried as she watched her body removed by white-clad nurses. Her body – that she’d clothed and bathed and fed, sometimes overfed, and always, always defined as Dina Stein. What was happening to it now? She watched women of the chevra kadisha wash it, immerse it, dress it carefully, tenderly, and place it in the aron. She watched her husband, her sons-in-law, her Rabbi, speaking about her, about the tzedakah organization she’d helped found, about the hundreds of girls she’d molded, first as a teacher and then as assistant principal.

And then her body was placed in the ground, covered up with earth, and she could see it no more, and a voice — at once strange and strangely familiar — whispered, “Come, Dina, it is time,” and she knew the separation was complete.

She was awash in sensation: the sights and sounds from all the four corners of the earth, unbounded by physical limitations and filters. Frightened, overwhelmed, she sought the voice that was guiding her. “Come, Dina,” whispered the malach, and suddenly she saw a tunnel of light, and she felt herself pulled irresistibly towards it. Upwards and upwards she flew, through the endless tunnel, and her desire was stronger than her fear, the powerful desire to meet what was on the other side. Throughout the journey, Dina was still attached enough to her earthly self to think of her family, and above all, her Shevy. A shadchan had just promised — finally — to redt Shevy to the bochur they’d been working on for so long. But now, after these new circumstances, what would be?

“I’ll daven for her,” Dina determined. “I’ll storm the Heavens, and beg and beg until she meets her zivug. It’s been so many years.”



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