What can you say to offer even a small bit of comfort to a grief-stricken mother who is sitting shivah for her children? How can you fill even a tiny space in that glaring void? I couldn’t think of a single thing, which was why I sat in silence—along with dozens of women spanning the spectrum of religious observance—across from Mrs. Chani Englard, who was soaking tissue after tissue with her tears.
But I wasn’t the only one who asked myself this question. Around the globe, hundreds of thousands of Yidden who were shaken by the colossal tragedy in Meron wondered how we might ease the pain of the survivors.
What could we do? Something—anything! Only the coming of Moshiach will bring those pure neshamos back to their bereaved families, but how could we, as a nation, show them that their profound loss had such an impact that it motivated us to take positive action?
While most of us were still grappling with the scale of the calamity, three driven women found an answer. Thanks to their exemplary passion and untiring efforts, Rechy Freilich, Bruchy Duschinsky and Chaya Sara Nussbaum pulled off the unthinkable: the Kabbalos Initiative.
This Jerusalem-based trio arranged that every single one of the families who got up from shivah did so with a priceless possession in their hands: a beautifully designed book listing the thousands of heartfelt kabbalos fellow Yidden had undertaken l’iluy nishmas the kedoshei Meron.
There were no grand plans at first, only a simple spreadsheet sent out to the over 1,000 women in the email group Jerusaguide, geared to English-speaking women in Eretz Yisrael. “Can you please add your kabbalah to the list?” was the simple request. Having experienced a wake-up call of this magnitude, the tension and dread hitting close to home with many of the women, most of them had undertaken to do something anyway.
Why not share their kabbalah with the rest of the group so that others would be inspired as well?