The teacher Odelia Cohen a”h was niftara at the age of only 24, leaving behind her husband, a young kollel avreich, with an infant and a one-and-a-half-year-old baby• The father is living with the two babies in a rental apartment intended for newlyweds • “I’m in an extremely stressful situation; I feel such heart-wrenching pain and I’m completely overwhelmed”
A terrible tragedy- the sudden passing of the teacher Odelia Cohen a”h, just 24 years old, who was niftara after unexpected complications arose in an operation performed after she gave birth to her second baby.
Odelia fell and was injured during the pregnancy, and suffered a break in her spinal column. The doctors said she needed surgery, but she needed to wait until after the birth for it to be performed.
She silently suffered the constant pain until the birth of her daughter Tziporah, and immediately afterwards the preparations began for the much-anticipated operation which she so hoped would end her suffering.
For a reason that is still unclear, one of the surgeons damaged a major artery close to the surgery site in the back of the neck, and within moments her situation worsened. The surgeons tried to gain control over the tear and stop the bleeding but it was too late, and Odelia sunk into a coma which lasted for two weeks, during which her situation continued to deteriorate until she was niftarah.
Odelia was born in Ashdod to her father Rabbi Yitzchak Malloul and her mother Mrs. Vered Malloul- both of them known figures in the city.
At her levayah the rabbanim of Ashdod eulogized her, at their head the city’s Rav, HaGaon HaRav Yosef Sheinin shlit”a, a personal acquaintance of the family. The Rosh Yeshivah of Me’orot, HaGaon HaRav Asher Carseinta, also eulogized her, as did the Rosh Yeshivah of Zohar HaTorah, HaGaon HaRav Meir Chaim Moyal.
Her father eulogized her and cried out from the bottom of his heart: “The heart is broken, the heart is bleeding, who would believe-Nachamu nachamu ami, yomar HaShem Elokeichem, a person doesn’t know what the day will bring, our daughter Odelia a”h, what refined middot she had, what modesty, her tikkun was completed.”
Her husband Rabbi Shalom Ya’ir gave the last hesped; the participants burst into bitter tears as he accepted the Heavenly decree with love: “Aishet chayil mi yimtza…” he said, “She did everything in order that I shouldn’t waste any time from learning Torah, also when it was difficult for her; she accepted everything from love and above all not to disturb the Torah learning sessions in kollel; she left us without saying goodbye..”
Odelia was 21 when she married Rabbi Shalom Ya’ir Cohen. They started building their new life together joyfully, with a strong desire to raise generations of ovdei HaShem. She found a teaching position; she had always aspired to be a teacher and was very happy with this position which enabled her to have an influence on students and educate them in avodas HaShem and middos tovos.
But that was not what Divine Providence wanted for her, and Odelia passed away so young, leaving behind two orphaned babies, the youngest of whom barely experienced a mother’s warm hug, and the older one can’t be expected to even remember his mother’s image when he gets a bit older.
Meanwhile he is struggling with raising the babies- the infant who will never again see her mother and will never know her to be able to miss her, and the one-and-a-half-year-old who doesn’t stop crying and screaming “Ima! Ima!” from missing her so much.
This is the time for Am Yisrael to step in and assist this young, overwhelmed avreich. We have to be there for him, to prove to him that he’s not alone, that he’s part of a big, wonderful family called ‘Am Yisrael’ whose members, upon merely hearing about this heartbreaking tragedy, feel compelled to help as much as they possibly can so that he and the tiny orphans won’t be left alone. We have to help them!