Yossi birthdayJewish boys look forward to their bar mitzvah for a long time. It is one of the major milestones in their lives. My oldest son Yossi Chaim a'h also looked forward to his own celebration. He had been diagnosed in 1997 with leukemia, but after a bone marrow transplant in 1998, he was “cured.” YossiHis whole life was ahead of him and he was excited to enjoy it. He began to learn how to read his aliyah early. Then, a mere 7 months before his big day, he relapsed. Chemo failed to cure him. Tragically, he was never called up to the Torah for his bar mitzvah as he passed away six weeks beforehand, on March 10, 2001 / 16 Adar, 5761.

One of the biggest merits a person can give a soul is to have a sefer Torah written in their memory. For many years, the hope and dream of doing this one day has lingered in my heart. Before Yossi died, I climbed into bed with him, and tried to give him enough kisses to last a lifetime. Obviously, that is impossible. One of the hardest parts of losing a child is not having them here physically to hug and kiss.

YossiRecently, I attended a bar mitzvah. I watched the bar mitzvah boy hugging the sefer Torah. I watched this young man hug that sefer torah with such love in his eyes, and I said to myself, “I NEED A SEFER TORAH FOR YOSSI.” I finally feel that I am able to accomplish this. I can't do it alone. However, I can with the help of everyone. When Yossi was sick, the entire Richmond community joined together to fast and pray for his recovery. They stormed the Heavens, begging and pleading. People around the world followed his blog and prayed for his full recovery at specific times. Sadly, the answer was “no.” PairNow I would like to give everyone a chance to join together in writing a sefer Torah. There is a mitzvah in the Torah for each and every person to write his own sefer Torah. Since it is really cost prohibitive for most people, the next best way to do it is to contribute to the writing of one. The completion of this project is set to take place the day before his 18th yartzeit on March 22, 2019 -Shushan Purim (mark your calendar!). Every time the Torah is used, it will be a special merit for his soul. Please help by contributing to the campaign with a monthly donation. Or if you are unable to give monthly, you may also make a one time donation. I appreciate your generosity, and may you be blessed with only knowing from revealed goodness! ~Leah Paley

Yossi with rabbi Yossi Chaim a'h at Camp Simcha's hachnases sefer Torah, 2000

The 613th Mitzvah in the Torah
“And now write for you this song...”
– Deuteronomy 31:19

“By this injunction we are commanded that every person among us is to have a scroll of the Torah for himself... If he writes on it with his own hand, Scripture considers it as if he had received it from Mount Sinai. If he cannot write it for himself, he is obliged to purchase one or hire a scribe who will write it for him. ~ Maimonides




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