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Precious in the eyes of the L-rd

Yakar b'einey Adonai

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Precious in the eyes of the Lord...

by John J. Parsons

Psalm 116:15 (BHS)

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints" (Psalm 116:15)

IN THE SCRIPTURES, God's intimate knowledge of our lives is sometimes referred to as Ayin Adonai – the "Eye of the Lord."  Adonai's eyes are in every place, observing all that happens on the earth. "Not a sparrow falls to the ground," said Jesus, "without your Father," and even the number of the hairs on your head are counted by God.

The word yakar, in both ancient and modern Hebrew, means "dear," "precious," or (when talking about prices) "expensive" or "costly." Yakar can also mean "heavy," perhaps alluding to the weight of ancient coins (the heavier being the more precious), or even "grievous" in the sense of heaviness from sorrow or pain.

The Scriptures declare that the death of the chasidim, the ones who are trusting in the Lord's chesed (lovingkindness and mercy), is yakar b'einey Adonai – "precious in the eyes of the Lord." From the point of view of the bereaved, death is yakar in the sense of heaviness, sorrow, or loss; but from the point of view of heaven, it is panim el-panim – the "face-to-face" encounter of sweet reunion, unending joy, and cherished gain.

A Jewish midrash speaks about this duality in terms of a parable.
A king once sent a governor to rule a province. He ruled it well, and when his term was up and he was sent to a new province, the inhabitants of the old one honored him for his life and so did those of the new one. Thus, when the righteous leave this world its inhabitants sorrow for them, but the angels in heaven rejoice over their arrival.

Zola Levitt (Z"L) was certainly one of those rare individuals the Lord used to "rule a province" here on earth for a season. He was a true Jew who was a faithful witness of the salvation of the Lord God of Israel to the nations. Now that his term here has ended, we sorrow over his absence, but we take comfort that he has been promoted to a new province with the joy of heaven now forever before him.

Shalom Zola, hayakar.

Psalm 116:15 transliteration

yakar b'einey Adonai hamavta lachasidav

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