My Neighbor, Michal Gross by Rachel Batya Aviner
My husband and I moved to Jerusalem’s Givat Mordechai neighborhood while my husband was in his year of mourning following his mother’s death. And in accordance with Jewish law, my husband would recited kaddish and lead the community in prayer.
One day a really kind elderly man sought my husband out after davening shortly before Passover and inquired where he would be for the holiday. My husband, assuming the man was asking because my husband was a new immigrant to Israel, explained that he would be with his wife and children for the Chag. This kind man insisted that my husband and I and our children should join his family for a holiday meal–an act of such kindness that we couldn’t refuse it.
During the meal we discovered that the reason the elderly man had invited my husband was not because he was an immigrant but rather because his mother had passed away, and concerned that my husband no longer had a mother to invite him home for Passover, he invited my husband to join his own family so he wouldn’t feel sad on the Chag.
This elderly man and his wife continued to call us periodically to invite us to their home. Over the years, we have met a good number of their children and grandchildren, and truly feel so welcome and taken care of by this wonderful family. It is only very special people who have such einei chesed, eyes of kindness, that seek out others in order to make them feel welcomed and loved.
One of the daughters of this kind family is Michal Gross, the mother of the two beautiful girls who died this past week due to inhalation of a poisonous substance after an exterminator sprayed their apartment for bugs. Michal’s two older sons, ages 5 and 7, are in very critical condition in Petach Tikva right now.
As they say, the apple does not fall far from the tree. This past Saturday night the women of our community organized an evening to pray for the immediate and complete recovery of the two Gross boys. The lady running the event had two messages and requests from Michal for us all:
1. We should all try to do a Kiddush Hashem in our own homes, through self-sacrifice for Torah, mitzvot, and good deeds,* for the merit of the refuah of her two boys.
2. We should not speak any lashon hara about the exterminator who had inadvertently poisoned her children; he is well known in our community and a man of learning and Torah. What happened, she explained, was Hashem’s decree and we should not speak lashon hara about this poor man who was just Hashem’s messenger.
Even in a time of such incredible pain and suffering this family is still able to make a true kiddush Hashem and think of others in need.
Please pray for the sons of Michal and Shimon Gross: Chaim Michael Shlomo ben Michal and Rafael Yitzhak Isaac ben Michal who remain in critical condition as well as for their parents Shimon Ozer ben Tzipporah and Michal bat Rachel who are suffering through so much.
IY”H this incredible, righteous family should know no more suffering.
*How do we make a kiddush Hashem in our homes? Rabbi Dessler teaches that when we make what Hashem wants from us our top priority, even when it conflicts with what we want to do, and even when nobody will ever know about what we have done, that is the greatest possible form of Kiddush Hashem.