Rabbi Fishel's Blog - Chabad - Naples
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Dear Friends,

Yossi, you made me a better person...

It's my brother Yossi's yahrzeit, anniversary of passing, starting tonight. It is now 21 years since he passed away. I can articulate and relate to many clichés about time healing wounds but in a seminal way, the pain of loss and the stark emptiness left by his passing will accompany me all of my days.

Yizkor is about remembering, and of all the things I recall about my brother Yossi some special characteristics resonate with me strongly.

Of everyone I have known, Yossi truly lived life to the fullest, giving his best to every moment of every day - he simply never quit. He dived right in to whatever he attempted and gave it his all, fully and with no restrictions. He grabbed life with both hands and LIVED it. He achieved so much in his short life because he seized every second. He was totally invested in life and living. 
Yossi never complained, but ALWAYS maintained a positive, upbeat attitude, even in the years during his aggressive treatments in Sloan Kettering.

He lived for others, caring especially for those who are often ignored. He was selfless and always sensitive to those around him. He did things because it was right and wanting to be of service to G-d and to fulfill his dear Mentor the Rebbe’s calling. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I can tell you this wasn’t an occasional occurrence. Yossi had a courageous and fearless nature, and at the same time, he was the sweetest soul.

Yizkor has become more sacred to me as I journey through life. During shul this Shabbat, as we recite yizkor, I feel that it's so important to have this day, where we spend the time recalling and trying to make sure that we incorporate these special traits in our lives and live up to some of what we were able to see and admire in these special souls whom we loved. Twenty one years sounds like a lot, but what's amazing to me is that this young man made such a profound impact on me, with how he led his life, that he has remained very much alive with me.

I miss my older brother Yossi so much. He was a true inspiration and I often wonder why he was taken from us so early. I will never understand but I am so thankful that I had the privilege to witness true greatness.

Yossi, you made me a better person, a more real person. His life was too short and I miss him terribly but we will try to incorporate what he taught us from those precious but abbreviated days we spent together: a legacy of pure goodness.

I look forward to reading from his Torah on Shabbat and if you can, please do some mitzvah — a good deed in his honor.

As we recite yizkor on Saturday, let's remember the precious moments of our loved ones and know that we can keep their neshamas alive and live fully.

Wishing you and yours a happy, kosher and freedom-filled rest of Passover!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos 

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