November 27, 2015 – 14 Kislev 5776
Reb Shmuel (Shiku) Smilovic – Sam Smiley February 1928 – 11/27/2015
Today I received news of the passing of Reb Shmuel Smilovic. I met Reb Shmuel about 5 years ago. His wife was a fifth cousin of mine. I felt instant kinship with Reb Shmuel and cherished my visits with him. I had a lunch with him along with his daughter, Fern, and son, Dr. Mark Smiley. The following is my feelings on his passing.
Please click on this link for his history, – http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/wims-smilovic-prewar.htm
Dear Fern and Mark:
I join with you in your sense of loss on the passing of your father. My connection with your father while short left a deep impression on me. The grace, the sense of history, the joy of family is what I remember and I cherish. Thank you for introducing me to your father.
On Shabbos at the Sholosh Suedas meal, I dedicated my speech to your father and spoke about your father. It was at my sister’s house as she has a Minyan every Shabbos and hosts the Shalosh Suedas meal. Here are my words and I have added to them.
I regret to inform everyone of the passing of our relative in Toronto, Reb Shmuel-Sam Smilovic-Smiley. His wife was a descendent of Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald. Despite his wife being a sixth (fifth) cousin to us, I felt a close bond to Reb Shmuel.
Reb Shmuel grew up in Munkatch Hungary and was in the city choir with his best friend Jack Reiss. He had a happy childhood. It changed in 1943 – 1944. Reb Shmuel wrote about his experiences in Hungary and in the concentration camps. I tried to read through his memoir on those years. I have a difficult time reading first person accounts of the holocaust and will just quickly scan through an account because of the horror. The one thing I remember is Reb Shmuel writing about being in the train to Buchenwald, looking out of the window, seeing the soccer fields that he played soccer with his friends. It was a nice day. The kids on the field had life and he and his fellows Jews were on their way to death.
He was freed from Buchenwald with Jack Reiss. Both wanted to start a new life. Reb Shmuel ended up in Toronto.
Reb Shmuel lived in an Assisted Living Facility on Sheppard. It was there that I met his kids, Fern Smiley and Dr. Mark Smiley.
I remember him introducing me to his friends in the assisted living facility. Everyone had a nickname for where they were from in Europe.
As I think back to my visiting him, what stood out most is when I sat with him is his apartment. I looked around his apartment and tried to absorb everything in the room.
- I saw the picture on the wall of Reb Shmuel at a grandson’s Bar Mitzva (wedding?). He was in the center, surrounded by his beautiful family. I only wish that God gives me the same feeling of joy and Nachas that Reb Shmuel felt on that sunny day at his Ainilkol’s Bar Mitzvah.
- I looked at his coffee table to see what books he was reading and what gave him comfort. There were three books:
- A cantorial book. Reb Shmuel loved Chazzonus. As I am writing out my speech on Sunday morning, I recall Reb Shmuel breaking out in Chazzonus.
- A book by Elie Weisel. Reb Shmuel met and was honored by Elie Weisel. He also met and felt honored by his friendship with the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau.
- A book of Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach’s stories. The incomparable Reb Shlomo.
I looked through his son’s, Dr. Mark Smiley’s, wedding album. Beautiful. I was able to see his family. As I turned the pages I saw one of my mentors, Rabbi Avrohom Kelman, Rabbi of Prospect Park, where my sister’s family davened. The next day I called Rabbi Kelman and gave him a “Gruss” from his Mechutin. Rabbi Kelman is elderly and appreciated my call. Reb Shmuel was able to reach out and touch Rabbi Avrohom Kelman. One year later my nephew’s Aufruf was in Prospect Park and Rabbi Kelman in his 90’s was as strong as ever. I Febrenged with him.
I then said over a Dvar Torah that his wife’s ancestor, Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald, wrote that he heard from his Uncle, Admor Dovid Morgenstern on this week’s Bible portion. Admor Dovid was married to Chaya Toibe, a brother to Reb Yechiel Moshe’ father. Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald saw the Kotzker as a boy. learned by the Kotzker’s son, Admor Dovid. Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald is the only one who wrote Torah from Admor Dovid, and because of his efforts we have Torah from the Kotzker’s son. Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald lived roughly from 1830 to 1920. He fathered kids into his 80’s. Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald has a grandson in Toronto. Imagine, we have a grandson of a man who saw the Kotzker.
The first Verse in this week’s Torah portion, says. “And Yaakov sent Malochim “before him”, to Eisav his brother, to the land a Seir, the field of Edom.” The Hebrew word Malochim can be translated as angels or messengers.
The Medresh Rabbah 75:4 brings down a dispute:
“These Malochim are human messengers. The Rabbis said Malochim Mammosh – actual angels.”
Rashi mentions only the Rabbi’s position and says “Malochim Mamosh “ – angels. The Sifsei Chachomin says the basis for this positon is that there is an extra word in the Verse, “The word “L’phnov – before him”. This word is clearly extra as it can be read without this word, without losing any meaning. This word teaches us that Yaakov sent the angels that were before him, two verses prior says that as Yaakov entered Israel he met the angels of God. These are the angels that were sent.
What does the first opinion that Yaakov sent humans do with the extra work of L’phnov – before him.
You can answer it by a Torah thought written down by Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald from his uncle, Admor Dovid Morgenstern on this Verse. Admor Dovid said that the extra work of “L-phnov” means that he sent them away from before him. He sent them away as he did not want their help, because God can help without angels, and without any intermediary. Yaakov wants his prayers to God and his own efforts to help and guide him, and not reliance on intermediaries Similar to Exodus 33:15 where Moshe did not want angels leading the children of Israel but God himself.
Reb Shmuel combined both aspects of the Medresh. He was a human being with the qualities of an angel.
I know that his Neshama is in Toronto and he may not be able to hear me, I ask him forgiveness for not visiting more, not calling. May his life be a source of comfort to his family and be a Melitz Yosher for his family.
From: fernsmile [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, November 27, 2015 8:36 AM
To: Mitch Morgenstern
Subject: Re: Jack Reiss
My father, Sam Smilovic passed away this morning. Funeral Sunday through Steeles memorial, Fern
On Oct 19, 2014, at 9:01 AM, Mitch Morgenstern <MMorgenstern@mbfinancial.com> wrote:
Jack Reiss passed away and his funeral is this morning.
SMILOVIC (Smiley), Sam
Within the loving embrace of his family, Sam Smilovic (Smiley) passed away early Friday morning. Sam always found a way to overcome his difficult past by holding true to his values and traditions, while moving forward with his beloved Annette z”l with hope, humour, and contributions to the community. Sam is lovingly remembered by his children, Fern Smiley, Rabbi Mark Smilovic Smiley (Aviva Silverman) and Neil Smiley (Jordana), by his grandchildren, Jessica, Daniel, David, Yael (Gabe), Dov, Benjamin, Jared and Erin, by many nieces and nephews in Canada, U.S., and Israel, as well as by a multitude of friends from each stage of his life.* He will be greatly missed and forever remembered. Sam’s published Holocaust memoir can be found at http:/ /migs.concordia.ca/memoirs/smilovic/ smilovic.html. Funeral service will be held on Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at Shaarei Tefillah Synagogue, 3600 Bathurst St., Toronto. Interment to follow at Mount Sinai Cemetery, Shaarei Tefillah section. Memorial donations may be made to The Sam and Annette Smilovic Fund, c/o Associated Hebrew Schools (416) 494-7666.
Sam Smilovic (Smiley) ז״ל
We regret to announce the passing of our member:
Sam Smilovic (Smiley) z”l
Friday November 27, 2015
15 Kislev 5776
Rabbi Mark Smilovic Smiley (Aviva Silverman)
Neil Smiley (Jordana) our members
Jessica, Daniel, David, Yael (Gabe), Dov, Benjamin, Jared and Erin
November 29, 2015, 11:00 am
Shaarei Tefillah Congregation, 3600 Bathurst Street, Toronto
Mount Sinai Memorial Park, Toronto – Shaarei Tefilah Synagogue Section
566 Castlefield Avenue, Toronto
Private family time between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm
Morning Services at 7:30 am
Evening Services at 4:30 pm