11 years ago this week, I met my late husband. Chanukah time was always an unofficial happy dating anniversary for us. It is a time I naturally get reminiscent. All of our dates I remember freezing cold weather in the rain. Somehow it didn’t bother us quite that much.

I haven’t written in a while because I honestly haven’t felt very connected to a high place. After the initial shock, hospital time, and funeral, the meaning of everything was so clear, vivid and elevated. You may not believe me, but I had the same feeling sitting on my shiva chair as I did sitting on my kalla chair at my wedding giving brachos. The same divine energy was coming through me; I was just in between those who greeted me and the message being sent from Above. When my late husband’s soul left his body, I felt touched by the Shechina, along with everyone in the room. I felt that I had a tiny glimpse into Olam HaEmes and this clarity of sight brought me through so much of the first weeks. After the shloshim, a lot of fog and muck of daily life set in.

Now what? No more articles. No more new hidden chesed or tzaddik stories. No more fanfare. No more new mitzvos being taken on for his soul. No more people changing their lives. Now what?

I still ask myself that question and in fact often get vertigo (that sensation scuba divers often get underwater when they don’t know which way is up). I just know that Hashem wants me to go forward now and continue. My husband always led his life by the Torah principle that Hashem leads you in the way that you want to go. So I usually just start with trying to align my will with Hashem’s Will, even if I don’t know where that goes, and I know that He will lead me there eventually if I am honest about it.

But the way has been dark for me for a while. There has been no inspiration – just a lot of to do’s. I find myself ducking that dreadful yet seemingly normal question on the streets – “how are you?”. How am I? I am walking right now, how are you? Answering the question requires an emotional check which brings up the pain at often very inappropriate times. Functioning normally in a crowd is quite tricky. But when people skip the how are you question and go straight to the ‘I can’t imagine what you are going through and I am so sorry’ or give a compliment, I do truly appreciate it and it helps me to carry the load.

We are all carrying the load that Adam and Chava left us with and that will please G-d take us speedily into the Beis Hamikdash – Mashiach days!

So, tonight as I sat sick in bed and listened to one of my first Torah classes, I felt closer for the first time in a while. As I paced my living room, I decided to re-frame my story. I want to tell the saga from an angle that hasn’t yet been told. Many years ago in shamayim, my soul was offered the following:

Hashem: “Batya, I have a great guy for you. He is a ba’al middos, yarei shamayim, good-looking, tall, ambitious. You and he will build a great and exciting life, together reaching amazing spiritual heights and have five (k’nayna hara) children. In the marriage, he will actualize himself, create a beautiful Olam Haba and become a hidden tzaddik. Then, after ten years, when you least expect it, I will take him from you suddenly and you will be left with his legacy to carry on. But, I will give you plenty of physical, emotional and spiritual help from multitudes who love you both.”

Batya: “Thank you Hashem, I accept.”

Today, I asked myself this question again. If G-d came to me to offer this full package again, what would I say?
I realized that my soul would accept. So, I hereby renew my commitment/vows to you Hashem, as difficult as the plight may be.

I love you all and couldn’t do this without you.

Blessings from Jerusalem,

9 responses to “Renewing my Vows”

  1. jonny says:

    Batya bat Chana,

    Thank you for this incredible blog. You give us chizuk and inspiration. I hope and pray that you don’t feel pressure to write but I always look forward to anything and everything you have to say. As you know, Gershon had such an impact on so many of us that we all could have written articles about him.

    You wrote;
    Now what? No more articles. No more new hidden chesed or tzaddik stories. No more fanfare. No more new mitzvos being taken on for his soul. No more people changing their lives. Now what?

    You should know that we will take on new mitzvos and our lives are constantly changing because of Gershon the tzadik and because of YOU! There hasn’t been a day that has gone by, IYH it will continue forever until Moshiach finally gets here, that hasn’t been impacted by the Burd family.
    I would have sent you a private email but I want others to see this and I hope you will forgive me if it is embarrassing for others to read what I am about to write about you.
    Gershon became a hidden tzadik because of you.
    I know that he was an amazing man before you met him.
    He became a great man after you met him.
    But he became a tzadik because you met him.

    Hashem should continue to carry you and the Burd families.

    We love you!

  2. petlover1948 says:

    best wishes for you and yours, always. Love, al

  3. Esther says:


    Thank you for your words spoken from the heart. I missed your updates, and think of you and the children very often. This post was so inspirational- you are amazing and you have a tremendous koach of putting your heart and soul in words. Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing with us. It sounds like you are very much right side up right now and not in vertigo at the moment which is tremendous of you.
    Blessing you with continued strength and emunah that overflows and passes on to your children and us.
    Thank you again,

  4. rochel says:

    thank you so much for sharing with us even though it must be extremely difficult to do so. you are in our tefillos along with your sweet children.

  5. Julie says:

    So sad… Thank you for sharing your heartbreak. What about this thought — during the initial weeks, the Shechina was so palpable that it carried you through the darkest time, so the Shechina gets some of the credit for you carrying on. But now, when Hashem is more hidden, you get that much more credit for making it through every day, no?

    Also, your husband’s death has changed my life. What a horrible thing to say, but if he wouldn’t have died, he wouldn’t have inspired as many people as he did — at least not now.

    Hope it will all get easier soon.

  6. sarah c says:

    This thought is so powerful and can bring so much comfort to so many people, no matter what they are going through in life. To internalize that our neshamos, for whatever reason, agreed and approved on the circumstances we were given in life..this can really help bring someone out of the darkness they are in. I hope and daven that you and your entire family should continue to find the light and be comforted.

    I also wanted to say that your insights are so incredibly beautiful and inspiring, I check your blog every day and it truly gives me chizuk..not only what you say, but the fact that you are sharing your thoughts and reaching out during the most difficult time.

    Hashem should truly help you to “go forward and continue” with strength, clarity, dveikus to Hashem, and ultimately simchas hachaim.


  7. Shalvi says:

    Batya, you are an inspiration. I am honored to know you. Chazak veEmatz!

  8. uncleremus1 says:

    you are unbelieveable xxxx

  9. Aliza says:

    Your words are such an inspiration. You have no idea how much your words light up all the fog around us. They pierce thru all the darkness and leave me with new energy and focus. How applicable your words are to channuka, when we had to shake off all the un-truth and return to our dedication to Hashem, and the purity of our souls.
    please keep writing and sharing your thoughts. “That which comes from the heart enters the heart”
    Thank you!

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