Don’t Be A Loner

I would like to describe how the past year has gone for me socially.

It all started in the summer of 2014.

It was then that I was admitted to the dreaded ICU for something that had seemed routine. However, Hashem showed us Who’s actually in control.

I ended up contracting three life-threatening infections from which it took an open miracle for me to survive.

This also showed us that Hashem is in control!

I ended up staying in the self-contained world of the ICU for a total of 114 days.

Obviously, I wasn’t able to socialize in the place that resembles the twilight zone.

Outside of my immediate and extended family who were a tremendous source of strength to me, admittance was severely limited to visitors. My contact with the outside world was virtually nonexistent.

On the upside, I started to develop a deeper awareness that it was just me and Hashem.

I constantly focus on what King David said in Sefer Tehillim (Book of Psalms), “Tsara veyagon emtsa uveshaim Hashem ekra” (Trouble and tribulations I have found, but in the name of Hashem I will call).

Soon after I was released, came the frigid Ottawa winter.

It was a long period of time when I was basically secluded within my own home.

This was due to the harsh reality that I didn’t have the strength to drive my power-chair. It was likewise impossible for others to push the 400 pound monster outside in the snow.

If not for my family and a constant stream of visitors I would have been emotionally a goner!

Finally, came the long anticipated summer!

It was then that we made the difficult decision to capitalize on the warm weather and move into a manual chair.

This procedure proved to be more complicated than we had imagined.

When I returned from the hospital, I had actually lost weight! Something that is unusual for a person in a wheelchair.

Loosing significant weight proved to be a major problem for me because I no longer fit in my custom chair.  I had to go through unimaginable pain because of this.

Eventually I had highly proficient chair technicians create a high-tech chair that perfectly fit the contours of my body.  I immediately experienced something unusual!

I experienced instantaneous relief!!!

I didn’t even have to go through any adjustment period!

But a new problem arose.

My physiotherapist thought that they would be able to build up my strength to the point that I would be driving my power-chair within two weeks. They based this opinion on the past when I would have done so without difficulty.

Alas, this was not the case. Despite working incredibly hard, I did not regain the strength necessary to drive the chair. 😦

So, manual chair it would be.

This is presently taking place. Unfortunately, we are experiencing starts and restarts.

But, the silver lining was that they installed an attendant switch to facilitate others to drive the chair.

Now I could be driven to Shul!

Now I heckle the announcements in Shul!

I say in a loud voice things like Mazel Tov, good job, and wonderful!

And most importantly, I get the chance to socialize with friends!

This past shabbos I had the opportunity to Daven ( pray) Mussaf  for the first time in a year!

Yes, life as a non loner is good!


  1. Ned Steinman · · Reply

    I have to say that one of the highlights of my year as President of our shul was to welcome you into shul and to see how your presence (and your smile) made everyone else smile. But, the “icing on the cake” was certainly your emphatic “good job” after one of my announcements. Thank you for all you do to enhance the spirit of Hashem that is felt in your presence.

    1. I’ll tell you the truth. I feel that I can make a Kiddush Hashem every time I show up!

  2. Ariel & Naomi · · Reply

    Hoping we are zocheh to be a part of this social scene and that we get to see and spend some time with both R’Simes and Mrs. Simes when we come in the summer iy”H! 🙂

    Thank you, R’Simes for the perspective and for the invaluable mussar. We are so fortunate to have access to R’Simes’ thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  3. You were hilarious this past shabbat Rabbi.

    1. That’s what the world needs more of: funny rabbis!

  4. I’m very excited that you have rejoined the shule community! The community are surely overjoyed to have you in their midst, as you are to again be part of the minyan. Whenever I read your blogs it makes my day. I know what gargantuan efforts go into posting these messages, so know that they are well appreciated.
    Love, judy

    1. Can’t wait to see you guys! Anxious to speak with you soon!!!

  5. Elisheva · · Reply

    So glad to hear your moving forward

    1. Eem yirtseh Hashem by all by all of us!

  6. You are a HUGE source of Chizuk and inspiration – WOW!!

    1. Thank you very much! However I wonder, do I know you?

  7. Yisroel Goldbaum · · Reply

    Thoughtful and thought provoking!

    1. Gee thanks a lot Rabbi!

  8. Zachary Muroff · · Reply

    Your positive attitude, in spite of incredible obstacles, continues to inspire me.

  9. Marge kaplan · · Reply

    I agree about social supports. I feel that if enough emotional supports are removed a persons future is dim. The support of your nearest and dearest is amazing.
    Aunt Marge

    1. I know you and your wonderful family supported me when I was growing up during some tough times.
      I can’t thank you enough!


  10. Rina Lederman · · Reply

    I think your being racist to loners:)

    1. Indeed Rina, indeed!

  11. Sarah Beutel · · Reply

    Thank you for all your posts Rabbi. They are very inspiring – indeed they are always the most inspiring part of my day! Keep up the good work!

  12. Baruch Lederman · · Reply

    This post made me cry Yehuda. This was the first of your many deeply emotionally moving posts that made me cry. I can’t explain why.

    1. I join you in being emotional. I find that i cry much more since my elongated hospital stay. I realize that there is a lot to cry about in this world. Holy tears to be sure!

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