Saturday, January 26, 2013

Farewell Dear Michael

My young friend in Florida, one the Rebbe's many thousands of emissaries around the globe, doesn't always have it easy. He just sent me the following that I share with you.

Michael Schneider was the 1st Bar-Mitzvah on our Mitzvah Tank

He was 19 at the time.

This story will teach us the power of random acts of kindness and how they can affect so many lives. Sometimes we do good things and think to ourselves what difference does it make anyhow? Who cares? This story will change the way you look at the world and your life.

Wednesday night Michael Schneider of Seminole was riding his motorcycle north on Seminole Blvd. While he had the right of way and was turning left, someone was turning right, did not see him, crashed into him and Michael got killed on impact.

Michael was only 21 years young. He was a very pure soul.

I met Michael and his mom Susan at the Rally gas station on the corner of Bryan Dairy and Starkey in July 2010. This was the 1st time we took our new "Mitzvah Tank" to fill up on gas. I pulled into the gas station and there was Susan coming out of her SUV, smiling, to look at the Mitzvah Tank, hearing the music blaring. I asked her if she was Jewish; She said "Yes". I invited her to check out our new Mitzvah Tank. She thanked me and went into the store to buy something.

As I was filling up the Mitzvah Tank and waiting for Susan to come out of the store, I noticed a very nice young fellow filling up Susan`s SUV. It was Michael, Susan's son. I introduced myself and asked him if he was ever Bar Mitzvah`d. He said "No". When Susan came out, I told her I would Bar Mitzvah her son right on the spot, explaining that the Mitzvah Tank was in fact a mobile synagogue. She was ecstatic. She told me she really wanted her kids to have a Bar- and Bat-Mitzvah, but her ex-husband was not interested.

So we boarded the Mitzvah Tank, I wrapped Michael with the Tefillin, we said the prayers, and sure enough Michael was Bar Mitzvah`d right then and there. He was only 19 at the time. Susan literally had tears in her eyes seeing Michael Bar Mitzvah`d, albeit there alone in a gas station in Pinellas County, FL.

We exchanged numbers and became very good friends. Every so often I call her asking her how she is doing, and how the kids are doing. I would ask about Michael and how things were going. She told me he is going to be an aviation mechanic. I was super happy for him since I knew it was a very good career.

Michael worked very hard in the program which is run out of the Clearwater/St. Petersburg airport. He was about to get his degree and start his career.

Yesterday morning I got the call that Michael was killed in a motorcycle accident. Yesterday my daughter, may she live eternally, Shterna Sarah, turned 4; Her Hebrew birthday is the 13th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat. Nothing is by coincidence, everything is "Bashert".

Although we met for only 5 minutes, our souls connected in a very deep, spiritual way, above the limitations of time. When I got the news, I told my wife and we were both shocked beyond words. We felt as if Michael was a part of us. It's as if G-d sent me to meet his pure soul and have him Bar-Mitzvah`d before he goes to heaven.

Ironically, the first thing my brother Akiva told me when we first arrived here 5 years ago was - to establish a Jewish biker group. Last year I got my motorcycle license and, with G-d`s help, it will come to fruition very soon. To be quite honest, I plan on riding a tricycle, not a 2-wheel motorcycle, as well as taking other safety precautions. But let me ask you, if only I had this Jewish biker group earlier, how many lives could have been positively affected, perhaps saved?

Michael was also the first Bar Mitzvah on our Mitzvah Tank.

Michael has a sister Chelsea, 16, whom he was very close with, who also never had her Bat Mitzvah. Yesterday, when I arrived at Susan's home, we spoke about everything and we also spoke about making Chelsea a Bat-Mitzvah celebration - in honor of Michael.

The culmination of Michael`s Bar Mitzvah is that yesterday I also wrapped Michael`s dad, Stan Schneider, in Tefillin for the very 1st time in his life. Although he had a Bar Mitzvah celebration, he never had the opportunity to wrap Tefillin.

Michael continues to inspire many people after his passing.

The most important feature of the Jewish faith is the eternity of the soul, as well as the eternity of the body. When Moshiach comes, there will be the resurrection of the dead. We will get to see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, King David, King Solomon – in flesh and blood. Michael will be there too!

May we merit the complete redemption through our righteous redeemer King Moshiach speedily now!

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