Last night, in honor of the publication of her new book How She Grows, Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi hosted an evening featuring various people who have faced life-altering challenges and grown from them.
Among the speakers was Dovi Weinrott, the widower of one of the most dearly loved people in Israel, Chani Weinrott z”l, who passed away from cancer 2 months ago at the age of 34.
As I wrote previously, Chani was a remarkably charismatic, vibrant woman who was a natural-born star. During her final years, she became accustomed to frequent appearances in front of large audiences on stage or on TV. Her husband, Dovi, is an accountant and lawyer. Not accustomed to the limelight, except when it was shining on his famous wife.
But last night, he overcame his reserved nature in order to deliver the following heart-felt message to the thousands of women in attendance. This is what he came to share with us:
“Shalom Ladies and Ladies… Over the last 2 months since Chani passed away many people have called to speak with me. Some of these people calling are going through major life crises — they have a spouse with cancer or a child who is very ill. They ask me how I am managing, how it is possible that I am not falling apart after everything I’ve gone through.
“Other people who call me are going through other significant but smaller life challenges–they lost a job, they have a child who is not following in their path, they are having trouble marrying off their children. These people tell me that they are falling apart, and want to understand how I, having faced the illness and death of my wife, am coping. Here’s what I tell them.
“Firstly, Chani and I worked very hard on having an Ayin Tova, a positive outlook on life. Chani and I were married for 15 years, 10 of which we spent in the shadow of her illness. But instead of focusing on the bad, we chose, with all our might, to focus on what we had instead of what we didn’t.
“Today, my wife is gone. I could focus on that. I could fall into despair. But, as Chani taught me by her personal example, I choose instead to focus on what I do have — our 3 adorable, wonderful children, 2 daughters and a son. A steady income, a job. A close family.
“Secondly, after Chani died I was extremely worried about how Shabbat would be. I went to a great man, and I told him my concerns, that Shabbat would become a sad day for my children–with their father lighting the Shabbat candles instead of their beloved mother, and without their mother joining us at the Shabbat table.
“This great man listened carefully to my concerns, and then he told me the following: instead of preparing for the worse, expect the best. He told me to expect, despite my fears to the contrary, that Shabbat would actually be a happy day for my children.
“And this great man was right. That’s exactly what happened. It wasn’t easy, but I worked hard on expecting the best, and doing so seems to have made it so.
“Thank you for listening. May Hashem bless you.”