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HaRav

posted by BatSheva Vaknin @ 12:27 PM
Monday, October 14, 2013

I haven’t written a blog for about a month, not even posted a Flashback Friday.

It’s easy to stop writing & posting. Obviously with 300 kids, 20 husbands and eighty-thousand errands, I’ve got other priorities.

In particular, when the kids are home from school, it becomes close to impossible for me to get quality quiet time for myself, which I need if I’m going to write even just a short and silly blog. And their school, being a Jewishy school, played a massive practical joke on all the parents by “starting school at the end of August” and meanwhile actually not really HAVING any school until October, due to Labor Day, Jewish holidays and who knows what other non-student-related school activities they needed to be busy with during that 1st month.

But the other reason I stopped writing and posting was because Rabbi Philip Berg, or to me, “HaRav,” (“the Rav” in Hebrew) passed away.

My husband flew to Israel for the funeral, as it happened, the exact same day that my husband’s parents crossed the oceans to visit us – from Israel – and then his parents stayed here for two weeks (another good excuse for having no time to write/post blogs)…

Anyway, when it happened…

I wanted to write about HaRav but I didn’t know what to say.

Do I talk about the fact that he was – and always will be – my spiritual father? And my children’s spiritual father? He held each of my children at his/her brits & namings, imbuing each one with his love and blessings. He was at the seed level of their lives, and also of my married life, as he was the one who¬†married my husband and me.

I felt the heavens open up under the chuppah that night – I, who never feel things like that. The morning after, my father’s childhood best friend who had attending the wedding called my dad to tell him my father’s (deceased) mother had appeared in his dream that night to tell him she was at the wedding and it was beautiful.

I had felt her there with me, along with my other grandparents, under the chuppah.

HaRav was the man responsible for my husband finding and sticking to spirituality – which meant leaving behind a life of partying/womanizing/not caring about building a future for himself or anyone else, and embarking on a lifelong journey of caring for others and the world/sharing where it was most difficult/taking responsibility for himself and others/prayer and study.

With his wife Karen, HaRav brought Kabbalah to the people, the under-40, non-religious men people, the anyones & the everyones who had a desire to study and to change their lives using the principles of Kabbalah. My Catholic lesbian friend introduced me to Kabbalah – and for me, never one for religions that separated people by ‘types,’ this was its #1 selling point before I tried and made use of the knowledge and tools of Kabbalah myself.

Many times I dreamt of HaRav throughout the years – once, after I had a particularly vivid dream about HaRav, the next day my husband went on a walk with HaRav and he gave my husband a very specific answer to the question I had asked him in my dream the night before. Literally, HaRav said, “tell your wife,” such and such…

I hadn’t told anyone about the dream.

I experienced some sadness, shock and loss – but not entirely, because HaRav had already been sick for a while and it had already seemed very clear to me that whether or not HaRav’s physical body was present, his soul and spirit were (and still are) very much here – with me, and with everyone, everywhere.

My heart goes out to HaRav’s wife Karen, and to his children, and grandchildren, and his closest students, because I know they all feel the pain of his death the most.

HaRav, thank you for everything you have given me and my family. I do not know how or why I merited to receive so many blessings from you in this lifetime, but I thank you and I ask you for continued strength to commit stronger than ever to the teachings you shared with all of us, to help eradicate pain and darkness in this world for ever.

Amen v’Amen.

c/xo,

 

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

HaRav

 

3 Responses to “HaRav”


  1. jospeh West says:

    Batshiva,It seems that you and I might of had a similar merit since we started at the same time.I dreamt of his passing the night before it actually happened, so you can only imagine what it felt like when I found outit actually did happened.

    • BatSheva Vaknin says:

      Wow Miriam Zadeh told me she also dreamt of it the night before it happened. I actually dreamt the Rav died & then woke up the night before his stroke 9 yrs ago but this time didn’t dream anything about it. Yes we are for sure on parallel paths…

  2. Amy Huh says:

    So beautiful Batsheva… Thank you.

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