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A Shattered Family Resolves to Find a Way Forward

“If that’s what our Father in Heaven decided, then that’s exactly how it should be. I don’t for a moment ask myself why”

Although the Glustein household in Ofakim is abuzz with people trying to share the family’s pain and help however they can, the atmosphere is bleak. Rabbi Dov Glustein, sitting shivah with his five children (four sons and a daughter) for his wife Shoshana a”h and daughters Chaya Sarah (7) and Chana (2) aleihen hashalom, struggles to find consolation.

One son is still hospitalized in Jerusalem, and he intends to go visit him later this afternoon. At home, he has to take care of five children shattered by last Thursday night’s bus crash outside of Jerusalem’s Rav Shefa mall that took the lives of their mother and sisters.

Rabbi Dov, a rosh kollel in Ofakim leading 45 avreichim, is a grandson of Rav Binyamin Beinish Finkel, rosh yeshivah of Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem. His wife was the daughter of Rabbi Yaakov Alexander and Mrs. Esther Ehrenfreund, founders and leaders of the Ofakim chareidi kehillah.

“What can I say?” Rabbi Dov whispers faintly. “It really hurts.”

His children sit by his side, and he does his best to protect them.

“I don’t have much to say,” he continues. “My wife was a rare kind of mother. Her dedication, her investment in the children, showed in each of them. She devoted herself first and foremost to the children. She was a teacher, and her students came to offer condolences. They said she symbolized the Torah lifestyle for them. She got many job offers over the years, but wouldn’t take anything that didn’t involve a shlichus and giving of herself to others.”

The children are listening, and one starts crying. With heartbreaking fortitude, Rabbi Dov picks him up and tries to soothe him. “Of course we would have loved for Ima and Chayaleh and darling Chani to stay with us. But that’s what HaKadosh Baruch Hu decided. Maybe they didn’t need to stay in this world any longer. I want you to know that this is what was meant to happen.”

Silence falls over the room. Rabbi Dov sees that the children are hanging on to his every word. He repeats what he said during the levayah. “We received Ima for as long as HaKadosh Baruch Hu gave her, and that was all we could hope for. We had Chaya Sarah and Chani for only a short period because the Av Harachamim decided that that’s how it should be.

“My dear children,” he says with determination, “if that’s what our Father in Heaven decided, then that’s exactly how it should be. I don’t for a moment ask myself why.”

In the silence that follows, a daughter’s voice can be heard: “So who will be my mother?”

Rabbi Dov bites his lip and says in a quavering voice, “The same HaKadosh Baruch Hu Who always looked after us and blessed us with a big family will continue to take care of us. He’ll be a mother to all of you. I promise. I don’t know how yet, but He’ll definitely take care of us.”

The resolve in his voice has its effect on the children. They don’t yet know how things will be okay, but they clearly find consolation in his words.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 924)

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