Did I Ever Wish I Had Died at the “Accident”?

My good friend Rabbi Lederman wonders about whether or not I had ever wished that I had died at the scene of the “accident”.

What a thought provoking question!

I suppose there might be room for such an inquiry. After all, in one unforgiving instant my entire life was turned upside down.

Up until that moment I had felt on top of the world. And for good reason!

I earned a very high profile in the Ottawa Jewish community. The community adored me as much as I adored them! Chief among my beloved community were the many hundreds of my students whom I truly love.

I was selected as a Greenspoon-Steinheardt award winner for the top Jewish educators across North America.

Most importantly, we were changing lives Jewishly as much as we were being changed for the better!

Then poof, it all disappeared. Or so it may have seemed.

This is besides the obvious loss of control over my body. My body no longer behaved the way I wanted it to. We mustn’t leave out my constant companion of physical pain.

The past five years have been an exercise in gains, losses and regrowth. I suffered numerous quad related hospitalizations. Because of this, I was separated from my family for about a year of this time.

Now a whole new situation hit me. I can no longer speak or eat delicious food. I can no longer deliver uplifting lectures to small and large crowds.

Yes, the question is a valid one. Did I ever wish that I could’ve saved myself all the physical and emotional turmoil by being taken on the spot?

Allow me to make myself super abundantly clear!

I never ever entertained such a thought! It never even entered my mind before quickly dismissing it!

Why, you may ask? Because I embrace my life however it looks or feels!

I wake up every morning hearing the birds sing! I immediately hear my youngest children frolicking and carrying on!  Then the older ones peeter  patter down for breakfast. I hear their spoons clanging in their cereal bowls!

The point is they behave like normal and well adjusted kids.  I wonder what the scene might have looked like had I not been there?

I still have the same responsibility to be there for my family.  And I’m so grateful that I am!

I had always viewed my life’s mission to use whatever resources I had at my disposal to be mekadesh  Hashem (sanctify God’s name). I am so grateful that I can still do that!

I had always loved nature.  I’m so grateful that I can still partake of Hashem’s stunning luxuries that surrounds us!

I especially get inspired when I can touch people’s lives. I am so grateful that I have opportunities, almost daily, to do so!

I must make mention of this blog. Sharing my thoughts and feelings with you, my loyal readers, and hearing your comments, helps brighten my day. And for that I am so grateful!

For all these reasons and more I am most grateful to be here!


  1. Rina Lederman · · Reply

    I agree that as much as it is probably painful and hard to be a quadriplegic, the thought about dying is something I would never want to do.

    1. Me neither!

  2. Henry from Torah 2 · · Reply

    We (your students) love you Rabbi. Thinking of you.


    1. Wow! Love you guys too!

  3. Incredible insight, thank you for sharing. As the son of someone who passed away while I was in infancy, I happen to agree (for what it’s worth) with your “choice”. I have lived out the scene where my father was not there to witness the everyday happenings, and it’s tough. Even a father who is overseas or incapacitated is preferable to a father who is gone. You have much to give and you inspire by your presence alone, and you should continue to grow from Koach to Koach.

    I keep meaning to comment more, but I love each and every post of yours and I open my email excitedly when I see a new post has gone up. Thank you.

    Moshe G.

  4. Zev Singer · · Reply

    What a great blog post! The cereal bowl sound is a great writerly detail. Which proves one of my theories: great writing happens mostly because someone has something real and important to say.

  5. Janet Kaiman · · Reply

    Your attitude never ceases to astound and inspire me
    I am so glad and appreciative that u r still here and continue to teach us all

    1. Gee thanks!

  6. Bob Dale · · Reply

    Beautiful column.

  7. Ariel & Naomi · · Reply

    We always get such chizuk from R’Simes’ posts… it’s such a bracha to have accessibility to R’Simes’ words…
    We sincerely appreciate you sharing your thoughts and heart with us.. thank you!

  8. Sruly Koval · · Reply

    You are such an inspiration – wow – I save your blogs and reread them – they are such a source of Chizuk!!!

    1. you just made my day!

  9. Zachary Muroff · · Reply

    You are absolutely amazing! With all you’ve gone through you always see the positives. You are such an inspiration to me and thousands of others.

    1. it takes one to know one !

  10. Your simchas hachaim is amazing. I read your words and gain chizuk for my own life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and words.

    1. that makes me so gratified. thanks for taking the time!

  11. Thank you, Yehudah, for so eloquently making yourself clear in your desire to keep living and contributing to this world. We are a better world for having you here with us. Not a day goes by that I am not sorry that you suffer such pain, but am heartened to know that you also derive pleasure from the world around you. You are my hero, bro!
    Love, judy

    1. You know that sometimes we are thrust into situations that force us to step to the plate and become better people.

  12. Yisroel Goldbaum · · Reply

    You are so inspiring!

    1. Awww, you’re too kind!

  13. Miriam Taub · · Reply

    Your word always leave me with so much chizzuk and inspiration!!

    1. I appreciate that so much! I also derive much inspiration by sharing my thoughts!

  14. Marge Kaplan · · Reply

    Becky and Rachel are visiting. We all got together last night for dinner at our condo. That included Beryl, Ross and family, Malcah and her family including David and Laura’s new baby Sophie, and Harvey and me.

    Becky told us about your dancing at the concert.

    As to your response to your accident… As they say, attitude attitude attitude. Yours has turned your life around to continue to serve others. Few could do what you are .
    Marge and Harvey

    1. How I wish I could have been there together with my family!

  15. Thank you so much for pointing out the priceless “little” things that us “normal” people take for granted. I wish I was able to be makir tov for all that I take for granted. Thank you again.

    1. You can, just stay focused and inspired!

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