As the week of mourning for Rabbi Yudi Dukes comes to a close, his wife Sarah shares something a friend said to her that gives her the greatest comfort.
By Sarah Dukes
One of the doctors that was working in Cornell last Wednesday night came to our home yesterday to pay his respects. I thanked him profusely for fighting so hard for Yudi that night. Even when things were so bleak, he did not give up on him. The team did not give up. They did not stop trying to save him for a second.
“Do you remember what you said that night?” the doctor asked me. I had not. “You told us all that we were about to see the biggest miracle, and we all wanted to be a part of it.”
I believed it. We believed it. They believed it. G-d could have done it. Everything was in place. Everything was ready. It was the darkest moment, and I really believed the miracle as big as the splitting of the sea was about to happen.
But it didn’t. And this left not just my family, but us ALL in mourning, trying to understand how this makes sense. The stronger the belief and trust we had in Yudi’s recovery, the greater the shock we experienced.
We know we have done everything we possibly could for Yudi for these past 9.5 months. We have invested our entire beings – our bodies, minds, and souls into Yudi’s recovery. We prayed, gave, did, visualized, learned, loved, united, believed. And we trusted.
Our efforts definitely gave Yudi those extra 9.5 months here with us. To inspire us. To teach us. To love us. But it’s not possible that it just ends here. Not after everything we did, and with the intensity and love we did it with. Not after all that was accomplished in the world and all the beauty and light that has now been brought into it. It still doesn’t make sense. This is how it ends? With Yudi gone, the other half of my soul ripped away, his family suffering, and my 6 beautiful children left without a father?!?
The effects of our thoughts, deeds, and actions do not end here. There MUST be more. There HAS TO BE more. Yudi deserves more. We deserve more. We deserve to see greater results.
As our 7 days of mourning come to an end, I want to share something that someone told me that gave me the BIGGEST comfort. What she shared has now allowed me to breathe. Accept. Feel peace.
According to Jewish law, the aron (casket) needs men to escort the soul and accompany it as it gets ready to ascend to the Heavens. And G-d needs His holy souls up there to help escort the Bais Hamikdash down from the Heavens…
And THIS would make sense. After EVERYTHING Yudi was able to accomplish in this world, after EVERYTHING that was done in his merit – we wanted to see the reward here in this world, but G-d has an even better reward for us in place.
Thinking about G-d needing to take Yudi temporarily just so he can be one of the chosen ones who has merited accompanying the Bais Hamikdash back down enables me to see the GOOD within the perceived bad. It’s not that we did everything to create miracles and change reality BUT Yudi ascended to the heavens, it’s that we did everything to create miracles and change reality and BECAUSE of that, Yudi needed to ascend to the heavens to receive the biggest honor possible, and he will soon return with the Bais Hamikdash, bringing along peace and everyone’s loved ones with him.
I’m choosing to believe that this is happening. Because this makes sense. This is the power of our prayers, deeds, positive thoughts, belief, and unity. And if G-d gave me a choice at the beginning if I would want to go through so much torture and pain for my husband to have this merit, I would say yes in a second.
With everything we have learned, we know that in the time of darkness, that’s when we need to hold on the tightest, because salvation is right around the corner. As I watched Yudi’s soul slowly being taken from him last week, I thought it couldn’t get darker. I continuously told Yudi, “THIS is the DARKEST moment. THIS is when we are going to get our miracle. It’s happening now!” But I was wrong. That wasn’t the darkest moment. It got darker. With Yudi no longer here, THIS is the darkest moment.
We need to keep each other strong. We cannot stop our actions. We must continue praying, trusting, doing more and more good deeds. Please continue sharing your efforts with me. Good will dispel the darkness.
We believed that Yudi’s miraculous recovery could have happened in the blink of an eye. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. G-D can STILL do anything at any moment! We need to continue believing and trusting that we will VERY SOON see Yudi in the front lines with his big smile together with the final redemption- may it happen TODAY.
More will be shared in the coming days as I continue to process and gather my thoughts. For everyone who reached out asking how to contribute to our family financially, THANK YOU! I will post the link below. We are also collecting any inspirational stories or memories you may have of Yudi, and I will include a link for that as well. Thank you all for being there and for staying with me during this time! May G-d comfort us all!