A few weeks ago I wrote about my cousin Ela, a Holocaust survivor in her 80s, who lives in Peru. Her youngest son Moishe had been living with her for the past few years, and it was through Moishe that our families reconnected after several generations. At the end of November 2009, Moishe died of leukemia. Not even sixty years old, Moishe was probably the most kind hearted, loving human being I've ever met.
Moishe was an angel whose warmth was felt by everyone who knew him. He would send these effusively wonderful emails to us for holidays, for Shabbat, with news about his mother or an update on his son, as well as the struggles with his health.
Perhaps Moishe's heart, like the sacred vessels in the Kabbalistic creation story, was too fragile to contain the powerful generosity and loving soul he shared so freely with others. His kindness and exuberance were extraordinary, and to have come from a family who had experienced first hand the horrors of the Holocaust, he was astonishingly trusting and forgiving.
Moishe was a deeply spiritual and religious man, passionately devoted to the tiny Jewish community of Lima. His namesake was something to live up to, the biblical Moses.
When I went to services last week to say Kaddish in his memory, it felt as if the prayer were written with him in mind. He praised the Source of All in every moment, in every human encounter, and with every breath. I will strive to carry on his legacy of praiseworthy generosity.
Kol haNeshamah te'Hallel Yah.
Let every breath/every soul praise the Unnameable One.