There are moments in our lives when we question everything we take for granted.
This past Sunday our community came together to mourn the tragic loss of Koby Gruenwald. Koby’s twenty two month fight with cancer shook those who knew him- and many who didn’t - to the very core. His parents, Rabbi Saloman and Melanie Gruenwald, documented both his struggles and his triumphant spirit that, to the very end, refused to allow his disease to define him or to destroy his joy of life from being trampled. Koby’s laughter, Music, and vibrancy never faded. His last words, “This. Is. Bullshit!” were a testimony to his fighting spirit and irrepressible determination.
I wrote this song the morning before the funeral service. It was the first time that I ever sobbed uncontrollably while attempting to put my feelings to both words and music.
“Koby” is a nickname for ‘Yaakov’ or Jacob. The images of Jacob wrestling with a mysterious stranger and dreaming of a ladder that reached to heaven were especially poignant as I thought about Koby’s life and the struggles of this incredible family.
Zecher Tzaddik Livracha - May the memory of Koby Gruenwald be for an eternal blessing.
For Koby - January 21, 2018 Words and music (c) Rabbi Joe Black
Jacob wrestled with an stranger and fought on ‘till break of dawn
He battled fear and danger ‘till a blessing came along
His struggle was defining it showed us who we are
But no Godly beacon shining could erase his ugly scar
Koby we will always hear your voice
Singing loud and strong
With a painful Hallelujah God’s presence flowed right through you
Your blessing was your song
When words cannot be spoken then music takes its place
When the world seems lost and broken and the tears stream down our face
When grief and loss are mingled God seems hard to reach
When a family grasps for meaning what’s the lesson we can teach?
Seems like every day we’re climbing ladders next to angels taking wing
We search in vain for things that matter as our voices grasp for healing words to sing
God’s gifts to us are fleeting and our hearts, like drums are beating
With the rhythms we all bring
And it stings......
Our hearts and souls are tattered-we see only black and white
When the vessels all are shattered we gather sacred sparks to bring us light
In the valley of the shadows we do not walk in vain
We’re all wrestling with the stranger.
We’re all struggling with our pain
Click below to see a video of the song:
Video: Song For Koby