To live is to give: A poem for Rabbi Bulka

Rabbi Chaim Boyarsky wrote the following poem to Rabbi Bulka when he was first diagnosed. The Ottawa Jewish Bulletin wanted to share it with the community, with Rabbi Boyarsky's permission. 




Dear Rabbi Bulka,


The news this past week, we are trying to digest

Knowing you are in such pain, gives us no rest

Believe us when we say that you are not alone

with our prayers we will turn over every stone


You’re such a special soul, encouraging others to restart

When with your sensitivity you detect a broken heart

When someone you knew was having it bad

It was clear that you shared in his pain and were sad


You shared words of comfort as you’d always say

“With HaShem’s help, please G-d, you will be ok"

We all knew and felt that you have our backs

With words of support and generous acts


You seemed to always know when to reach out and call

reassuring us that we would not falter or fall

You always knew just the right thing to say

In your impressive, comforting, sensitive way 


I saw you tell a husband that he just lost his wife

Something you sadly experienced in your own life

I was with you when you comforted a dad as he buried his son

Again, something sadly you, too, personally have done


And I was awed by your devotion, how you were there with love

Encouraging all to have faith in the One above

You always showed a brave face, you weren’t one for crying

But we knew in your heart you were aching and sighing


When you talked with top brass or you spoke publicly

Your message was always kindness and unity

You always made eye contact as we walked in the door

With your added touch of class, of your friendship we were sure


At a wedding or Simcha you had us on the floor

With your jokes and one-liners we were begging for more.

Hearing you speak was a beautiful treat,

Your style and originality could not be beat.


You didn’t grab a coat when the cold weather did start

For you were kept warm by your loving, vareme heart

Your love for Eretz Yisroel was always on fire,

Something we all respect and admire.


So thank you for teaching us all how to live

Following your motto that to live is to give.

With Hashem’s help and blessing we know you will survive,

And with you at the helm, our community will thrive.


With lots of love and admiration,

And a heart full of appreciation.


With love,

Rabbi Chaim Boyarsky