Category Archives: Yitzchak Meir Seltzer

Yitzchak Meir’s 6th Yahrzeit

Yahrzeits are a time to contemplate where we were, what we lost and perhaps what we have done since the loss. My son Yitzchak Meir was born during Sukkos 17 years ago, and he was brain damaged from birth. 6 years ago on the 30th of Cheshvan, his body could no longer sustain itself, and he returned his soul to his maker.

I do not know if I will ever understand exactly why Hashem decreed that he come into the world the way that he did. But given that this already happened, perhaps it is wise to take something positive out of it.

This year, as I thought about my son, I remembered how little he could do. He did not have the use of his body – certainly not the way we use our bodies. He could not walk, talk or see. He could not make sure to use the toilet when necessary. He could not help clean up for Shabbos. He could not earn a living, enjoy a good book or a movie, or even sit and learn Torah. One could ask “What kind of life is that?” – and in fact there were people who asked me such a question.

But the value of my son’s life is not what I want to discuss now.

I want to ask “What kind of a father was I to such a son?” I couldn’t teach him to ride a bicycle, make chocolate lollipops with him, learn about the parsha, or sit around the Shabbos table and just shmooze. I could not give him advice on what to wear, where to go to school, or which phone to buy.

What use did my son have for me, his natural father? He was cared for 24/7 by nurses and doctors!

I learned that my job was not to judge him, but to simply give him love – even though he was not able to physically respond to it. I spent visiting time during the last three years of his life sitting by his side, holding and caressing his hand, and reading tehillim. When he made a #2 while I was in the middle of tehillim, I didn’t yell at him, or say “I expect better from you.” Yelling would not accomplish anything, as he would remain lying in the bed, staring into space. When he failed to help assemble or disassemble the sukkah; set the Shabbos table; clean his room; tuck himself in; there were no words for him – all these tasks were simply things he could not do. My job was not to make him feel bad. On the contrary, my job was to let him know that he was loved regardless of his abilities – or lack thereof.

Now that Yitzchak Meir is gone, what can I take out from that 11-year experience.

The answer this year is for me to give unconditional love to my other children.

When they don’t do what I expect – whether that is to not clean the table after dinner; or not setup the sukkah; or clean their room; or not get a 100 on their test – my job is to just love them. Perhaps encourage them at times to reach their potential, but otherwise just offer them constant, unconditional love.

During the past few years I have sometimes wondered if I can even do that. Offering unconditional love is something I might expect from Hashem, but for me to turn it around and give it to another person sometimes seems unattainable.

But this year, as I remember how I was able to give my son Yitzchak Meir unconditional love – never blaming him; never shaming him; just offering acceptance and love – I can then take that forward to today when I am faced with a challenge from my other children. Then I can remember how I did have the capability to offer unconditional love to a different child, and then do the same to the child in front of me.

There are other lessons that I learned from my son Yitzchak Meir – and other lessons yet to be learned. But this year, this particular lesson of unconditional love resonated with me, and I thank you all for letting me share it with you.

Thank you all for joining me in this event today.

May the neshama of my son Yitzchak Meir have an Aliyah.

A New Home

Yitzchak Meir has been out of Lichtenstaeder Hospital for a few weeks. He has been staying with a family in Neve Yaakov, and we are looking to put him in an institution. He interviewed for Alyn yesterday, but they felt that their services were not appropriate for him. They recommended Aleh instead, and we will now be investigating that.

What do we do with him?

Yitzchak Meir’s condition has improved somewhat. The Lichtenstaeder medical staff no longer need to provide him with any medical care – just normal feeding and diaper changing. In fact, they have hinted that he is ready to be sent home!

So we are now going through the procedures necessary to a move Yitzchak Meir to his next home (which might be right here with his ima and aba). This includes going to the Insurance company (Meuchedet) and having them perform a formal medical review, culminating in a recommendation on his future care.

The Tapestry

A Poem by Ella Seltzer

Oh Lord, when will it be
That the other side
Of your tapestry
We shall finally see?

Our tears like heavy rains fall
That in floods gather up
When will they overflow the brim
Of your wondrous cup?

The lonely still searching
For their zivug, their mate
The childless beseeching for offspring
Before Nature dictates it’s too late,
In grief and in agony our mourners wail
Young widows, bereft mothers
When will Hope prevail?

Emunah, our answer, salvation and hope
Our crutch, our consolation
With this we shall cope
It is all for the Best, like a mantra we say
Chuzku v’imzu, ’till the day comes
And Hashem wipes our tears away.

“Oh it wasn’t for naught!” we’ll sigh
But this time in praise and in song
When His tapestry is revealed to us
That was Beautiful all along.

What answer should I give?

A Poem by Ella Seltzer

What answer should I give
When you ask me
“How many children do you have?”
Shall I say “Two” or “Three”?
Well where is the third, your thoughts I tell
“He’s in another place, he’s not very well
A place where they look after kids like him”
(who lie quietly with the buzz of machines
For whom the the future is nothing but dim)
But you don’t understand, “Is there hope?” you say
Should we daven for him, I’ll get people to pray,”
(Oh pray for us please, pray that with ease
We’ll get through this hard time)
With strength and with courage
That this son of mine, shouldn’t suffer too long
And that with each day we’ll become a little more strong.

And each time that I tell
The memories like a well
Come back to me
How, scarcely recovered from my labour pain
I knew something wasn’t right, and saw my son remain
quiet and still while the other babies cried
“He’s in a coma…the brain…lack of oxygen inside…”
I hoped for the best, but as the hope grew less
I realised that this was my most terrible test
A living nightmare when I woke up each day
And wished that it all would just go away.

A nightmare? You might find that believe
As you see us and our children living our lives
Laughing and playing but inside I am sometimes crying
Each day that goes by as my baby is lying
In a hospital bed that he might never leave.

But he is my teacher, this child of mine
Taught me that everything is led by the Hand Divine.
That all we have is trust and faith in the Holy One
Who brought down this special neshama as my son.

New Home: Reut

Yitzchak Meir has now been transferred to the Reut Medical Center (Lichtenstadter) in Tel Aviv. Ella travelled with him in the ambulance and checked him in. I followed behind in the car with Mordechai Eliyahu & Kayla Esther. The Medical Center is filled with children in similar conditions, so it is not the most pleasant experience.

We still do not know what God has in store for us and our Yitzchak Meir. All we can do is hope and pray.

Approved: Lichtenstadter

The kupat Cholim (insurance company) has approved payment for Yitzchak Meir to be sent to the Lichtenstadter Hospital in Tel Aviv. He could be transferred as early as Sunday, and we will be accompanying him there. Yitzchak Meir’s condition is otherwise unchanged.

This may sound repetetive, but he is in about the same condition as he was two weeks ago.