So he approached a man and said, "Help please, I'm lost." And the man said he would buy him ice cream and take him home. So he bought the boy ice cream and the boy sat in the car for seven minutes. Seven minutes during which he could have escaped had he known what that man intended.
Then the man made a stop by his dentist's office and paid his bill. The dentist remembered the boy. It was through this dentist that the police were able to identify the man who took Leiby as Levi Aron. This man had taken Leiby to his home. There, he suffocated the boy (thank God for small mercies) and later dismembered him.
Boro Park as a whole did not know this. Shomrim, the NYPD and the FBI went searching for the child. Thousands of people, including Heshy's family, volunteered to search for the child. There were sirens and huge speakers calling Leiby's name. Everyone searched for the little boy. And those who were not searching prayed and updated their Facebook statuses and emailed his name to the world.
Once the police were at Aron's house, they discovered pieces of the child's body in the freezer/ refrigerator and Aron led them to the other parts of the body in a red suitcase in the dumpster.
I found out today that in fact Leiby is the cousin of a classmate of mine from high school. Already upset, I had not expected that.
The last time I remember us all praying for a different outcome with a tremendous outpouring of love and good will like this was by Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran. But God said no. I remember being devastated by this news. I was touched later on to find that Koby's mother had written a book, The Blessing of a Broken Heart. I remember it comforted me somewhat.
I also remember an excerpt from the book:
- "What do we do with the pain?" my husband asks a rabbi who, years ago, lost his eleven-year-old child in a bus accident. The rabbi answers: "You must use it to grow."
Another rabbi says that ours is a heartbreaking test, but we need to turn to God, that only God can give us comfort. Outside of the house, my friend Valerie tells me, the rabbis cry like babies.
Because no matter how much we try to intellectualize or interpret the pain, to will it away, the pain crouches on our heart like a beast who is waiting to crush us, to chew us to bits until we are nothing, dust that the wind can blow away.
Tonight is the funeral. The rabbis will cry. The laypeople will cry. We will all cry. But we will also be part of something bigger, which will be remembering Leiby, learning from him and his life, trying to emulate whatever it was in him that made God desire him and choose him to be with Him.
There was a song I learned in Camp Agudah about death and loss that went as follows:
A rose among the flowers
A treasure for the king
Dodi halach b'gano
The analogy, of course, was that the precious, singular unique roses of the world were the ones God chose for His garden.
I like to imagine that Aviva Miretzky, Koby Mandell, Yosef Ishran, Leiby Kletzky and the other little ones who die or are murdered are part of God's inner court. That their souls were so special and pure that God desired them to come back to Him early, where He could surround Himself with their fragrance and hear their beautiful words. That Leiby sees a world that the rest of us cannot imagine, replete with glittering castles that sparkle and sparkling Hebrew letters that float, and that he is content and even joyful there.
Of course this does not excuse the actions of those who kill. But as God is just and in the end so are all things, I believe that these flowers were plucked by him and form a part of his eternal garden. This idea is expressed in "Gathering Flowers for the Master's Bouquet." (Listen here).
Loved ones are passing each day & each hour,
Passing away as the life of a flower.
But every bud and each blossom some day,
Will bloom as a flower in the Master's Bouquet.
Gathering flowers for the Master's Bouquet,
Beautiful flowers that will never decay.
Gathered by angels and carried away,
Forever to bloom in the Master's Bouquet.