Letter to Reb Zeller's widow

Dear Hannah Sara,

Here is a photo I took of Reb David Zeller, z'l, 1/12/97, when he taught, "Entering the Gates of Holiness."

Especially because May 25th nears, and Reb Zeller's, zt'l, first yahrzeit is 8 Sivan, coming soon, even more strongly do I think of my beloved rebbe than I have each day for almost twelve months. When the 11th Hebrew month just passed last week, I was conscious of your "official mourning" time ending. Athough we don't know each other, we met for a moment in a park (Jerusalem's Liberty?) years ago, and maybe I can even find a photo of that, but I have held you in my heart, my lev. I mourned for your loss alongside of you.

My official mourning time for my husband, Marcel, z'l, ended 16 months ago.

"Mah Tovu", a story I wrote during my deep grieving is on this link:

My story "Light" regarding my mourning, is also on The Jewish Woman site http://www.chabad.org/search/results.asp?scope=313386&searchword=joy+krauthammer

This week during the Omer counting we are in HOD. Reb David, z'l, lived in Hod, in humility, modesty, splendor, thanksgiving. Reb Dovid, of blessed memory, lived in all the Sephirot. Reb David exemplified, personified, illustrated--chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach, hod, yesod, malchut. We all learned these ways from this master of teaching and understanding and compassion. I visualize where he sat teaching each time in Los Angeles, California. His presence, so humble, yet powerful and joyous.

Lag B'Omer, the letter Lamed, the letter for heart. Heart is the space in our universe which Reb Zeller held and brought us all to that space. I gave to my daughter, Aviva, a photo of Reb Zeller touching my husband's, z'l, heart.

Number 8, all spirituality, a place of covenant, is above physicality. If the 8th Sephirah symbolizes physical form, and Spirit manifests in our world through form, this is the form in which Reb Zeller shared his self as he emulated the attributes of Hashem. (I have to keep changing my grammatical tense to past after I keep writing Reb David in the present.) I believe the form of Reb Zeller's vessel became too constricting for the beautiful, glorious, joyous singing energy celebrating the Divine One which was so expansive and expressive and loving. His neshamah needed to fill more greatly-- as gentle as it was, the universe than jets would allow. With each plane Reb Zeller carried his chevre to many awakened conscious planes. Reb Zeller brought together the Jewish worlds of Orthodoxy and Renewal, as we sat learning and feeling.

As a feminist, when I had problems with "Master of the World" / Rebbono shel Olam, Reb Dovid, whom I always called "Rabbi Zeller", even when he encouraged in modesty-- only "David", my teacher, my guide, my beloved first and #1 rebbe, and I have tears writing these last words, explained to me that a "craftsman is a master of his trade" and is thus called "Master." As a craftswoman myself, I understood this teaching from Reb Zeller, and could accept and use it, and still I share his teaching in his name, a legacy.

Because you are in Israel, Holy Land, I can do this counting as if I am present, which I am in spirit. Reb Zeller taught us to Count the Omer.

Tonight, Thursday evening, May 22, we count thirty three days, which is four weeks and five days of the Omer.  Day 33 - Hod sh b' Hod: Humility in Humility, Splendor of Splendor, and Thankfullness.

On this day, I choose to write to you, dear Hannah Sara, loving wife of my Rabbi Zeller.

(In my mailed letter) I include an Omer counting poem from my friend, Gloria Krasno in Milwaukee, WI. She most likely also knew Reb Zeller. The Omer poem I attach is one where I can envision Reb Zeller dancing in his heart and soul. As I served as percussionist when Reb Zeller came to LA, I especially like this Omer poem as Reb Zeller had us in our hearts and voice, sing and dance. I hold "David" in my heart and I send my love to you, Hannah Sara.

I was still in mourning for my husband who had only died a year earlier, so I did not write directly to you, but I did write to Manya, Mordechai, all your children, and chevre and shared my love in Reb David's website. The year before I had shared my love in his book that you created for your loved one.

Based on my sadness from your loss which we all share, I designed a memorial card, MEMORY FLAME. As soon as Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi shared the saddest news with us chevre who were with him at Isabella Freedman Center last year on Shavuot, I realized I needed to have this card for those of us in need. In the center of the Ohr, flame painting I made following a meditation on the Holy Temple, is a Mogen Dovid shaped lotus flower. I thought Reb Dovid would appreciate this flower from his India days. Do you see inside the other blue Mogen Dovid, is a heart?

I attach below a photo of my Memory Flame card.

The Yiskor teaching was given to us on Shavuot by Reb Zalman. "In memory of loved ones", in each direction, to and from your loved one, z'l, giving and receiving, "feel Forgiveness, Gratitude, Compassion and Love." Hold your beloved's hand in your hand.

In locations where candles may not be lit for safety reasons, and in ritual, I and others have used the little Memorial Flame card with my Ohr, flame painting. In all these colors of Ohr "do I see the light" of Reb Zeller.

Maybe you now have the circular double-sided engraved, bronze medallion pendant that I gave to Reb Zeller with these words in Hebrew and English, "In Your Light Do We See Light" (surrounding a Menorah) that he loved to teach and sing. At the Jung Institute Reb Zeller saw it on my neck, liked it, and I immediately removed it and gifted it to him, feeling so good that I could give my Rebbe something he appreciated. On the other side of the pendant, surrounding a Tree of Life, is written, "The Compassionate One Seeks the Heart..."

On Lag B'Omer there is a joyous gathering of mystics. I know that on this day, and now in Jerusalem, Reb Dovid's soul is singing in holy choir with all other angel mystics.

May David's soul in Sh'mayim / Heaven continue to be blessed as he blesses us all. His memory is for a blesSing.

Hannah Sara, may you and your children and chevre be blessed to continue to find comfort in your sweetest memories of David..

BlesSings of compassion, health, harmony, love and joy to you,


I have attached some of my photos to share with you. The photo on page 88 of Kol Chevre, I took of Reb Zeller in 1997.

Here is a photo of Reb Zeller playing at the Happy Minyan, LA, and I am accompanying him.

Reb David Zeller and Joy Krauthammer

Poem below from: Gloria Krasnow krasnosita@sbcglobal.net Gloria is preparing her book on Sephirot.
Day 31 Tiferet-Hod. (I will include when I receive permission to reprint.)

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