You know in your head that the day will come when a cherished older loved one will no longer be with you. But your heart breaks nevertheless. Rabbi Schonfeld’s p’tirah was not a tragedy. He had arichas yamimv’shanim. He had an amazing family. He had the z’chus to give so much to so many. He made a great impact on the Jewish world. No, it isn’t a tragedy, but it is so, so sad.
One day, a boy found a fuzzy caterpillar and put it in a cage as a new pet. Soon, he observed the fascinating metamorphosis as the caterpillar disappeared within a cocoon. He checked the crusty shell daily and eventually noticed a small opening. As he’d hoped, a butterfly was trying to emerge. The boy waited impatiently and feared it was stuck. He took a scissors and gently opened the hole so the creature could escape. Sure enough, the butterfly inched out with a large swollen body and small, misshapen wings. Sadly, those wings never grew properly and the malformed insect spent its last days haplessly crawling around the cage. The boy learned that wings only develop when butterflies mount a tenacious struggle to escape their cocoons. His misguided act of kindness led to the creature’s doom.