“Shalom Ber lived his life with a purpose and mission to light up Hashem’s world, we have no doubt that he fulfilled his mission during his short years.” The parents of Shalom Dovber Markel write about their 4-year-old son who tragically passed away last week.
Born in the holy city of Jerusalem, on the 28th day of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan 5778 (November 6, 2018), Shalom Dovber Markel was always recognized as a special child.
Shalom Ber, as he was called, was named for the 5th Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shalom Dovber of Lubavitch whose birth date was just a few days prior, on the 20th of Cheshvan. The four-year-old boy strongly identified with his holy namesake and, in his short life, strived to emulate him.
Shalom Ber’s Jerusalem origin was a great source of pride, and he spoke much about his desire to return to the Holy Land. He recently composed an original song about rebuilding the Bais Hamikdash, the Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem, expressing his excitement and yearning for this central Jewish belief.
The vibrant child lived with his excitement for Hashem (G-d). Prayer was a special part of Shalom Ber’s every day, and he would joyfully sing his way through the words to both classic and personally-composed tunes and lyrics. Last summer, Shalom Ber wished for a colorfully laminated card containing the traditional after-blessings on food.
His parents allowed him to earn the card by being diligent with his own after-blessings. After this achievement, Shalom Ber lovingly carried the card in his pocket wherever he went. Moreover, while on vacation, extended family members marveled at how the then three-year-old remained at the table after eating to sing the after-blessing with concentration, while the other kids ran off to play.
Holy Jewish books were very dear to him as well. On a family outing to the local Judaica store, Shalom Ber was once given the option to select any book of his choosing. Eye-catching stories for children lined the shelves, but Shalom Ber’s selection was quick in coming: a pocket-sized volume of Mishna (Oral Torah) section of Kodshim (meaning, “holy rites”, a more advanced Torah book discussing the sacred Temple rituals). He insisted that this was his choice for the day, and proceeded to learn it at home with his parents throughout the following year.
Shalom Ber’s very identity was one of a soldier. He wasn’t just any soldier; he was a soldier of Hashem (G-d). He was proud to be enrolled in the international children’s organization, Tzivos Hashem, and used every opportunity to fight for the cause of goodness and kindness. It was a common sight to see Shalom Ber marching on his front porch, proclaiming songs of yearning for the imminent Redemption. He firmly believed that his actions made a significant and global difference.
Throughout his short years, Shalom Ber loved wearing his self-proclaimed uniform: a yarmulka with the Tzivos Hashem logo, a camo down vest (worn both winter and summer alike), and sometimes his Tzivos Hashem-emblemed cap. Indeed, this proud soldier was wearing his camo vest until his very last moment in this world.
“Shalom Ber lived his life with purpose and mission to light up Hashem’s world,” says his mother, Goldie Markel. “We have no doubt that he fulfilled his mission during his short years.”
It is incumbent upon us to allow his soul’s light to spread further and in even bigger ways than before. We learn from the Lubavitcher Rebbe that the main lesson after someone’s passing is that “the living shall take to heart”, and be spurred on by the strength and character of that individual. Taking Shalom Ber’s inspiration, we can continue to illuminate this world within our everyday lives by increasing our acts of positivity, however big or small. It would mean the world to his family if everyone reading this resolves to increase in goodness and kindness—inspired by the precious example of Shalom Ber.
Let’s spread Shalom Ber’s light!
You can make a difference!
Acts of goodness and kindness include a myriad of meaningful options. Here are just a few suggestions:
– Give extra charity to a worthy cause.
– Add in one more mitzvah, i.e. G-d given commandment.
– Increase in Torah learning (www.chabad.org).
– Enlist your Jewish child (under Bar/Bat Mitzvah) to Shalom Ber’s beloved Tzivos Hashem organization: www.tzivoshashem.org/kids/THsignup.asp.
– Reach out to a loved one, neighbor, or coworker with an extra smile or kind gesture.
Click here to donate to the Markel family and help ease their unimaginable pain.