He Said He Wanted to Study

We knew Avraham David Moses...

David Bedein,

David Bedein
David Bedein
credit David Michael Cohen
18 March 2008 - It's been 12 days since an Arab terrorist from Jerusalem sprayed more than 500 bullets into the library of Jerusalem's finest yeshiva and mowed down eight young men while they were learning Talmud at the Mercaz HaRav Kook Talmudic Academy. Mercaz HaRav is considered to be the Harvard of Israel's yeshiva seminary system.

We knew Avraham David Moses, 16, who lived in our community of Efrat, since he was a little boy.

His family described how Avraham David never wanted to miss a moment of studying Torah.

Avraham David and his chevruta (learning partner), Segev Avichayil, went to study together quietly until the celebrations of the new month of Adar, the month of Purim, were scheduled to begin. When the terrorist entered the library, Avraham David and Segev were so immersed in learning that their friends had to yell to both of them to run for their lives.
Avraham David and Segev were so immersed in learning that their friends had to yell to both of them to run for their lives.

Avraham David loved coming home to learn Torah with his father, Naftali, who cherished those precious moments of learning with his son. At the funeral, Naftali recalled that the last matter they learned together was the Talmudic tractate dealing with the deceased before the burial and how the onen - the bereaved before the burial of his relative - is exempt from observing the commandments. Naftali said at his son's grave that Avraham David found it hard to grasp how there could be a situation, for whatever reason, that one would be exempt from observing God's commandments.

At Avraham David's funeral, another family member recalled when the yeshiva let the students out on a Friday before a big snowstorm and told them they need not return until Wednesday because of the snow. Avraham David took his backpack and prepared to return to the yeshiva on Sunday. When asked what he was doing, he simply said that he wanted to study.

"But where will you sleep?" he was asked.

Avraham David said that he packed a sleeping bag and that perhaps he'd find a place to sleep in the yeshiva where the post-collegiate students were studying.

In terms of his custom of prayer, Avraham David was careful to get up for prayers at the crack of dawn. One of his friends told the family that Avraham David found a note written by one of his roommates asking for consideration towards those who do not get up at such an early hour. From that time on, for a nearly a month, Avraham David took his mattress and blankets out on the grass on the yeshiva's premises and would sleep until the sprinklers woke him up. He soon learned where to put down his mattress so the sprinklers wouldn't drench him.

At home, Avraham David was always eager to help in the Sabbath preparations. When he was asked to peel the vegetables, he would do so with an open Torah book in front of him. His mother got him a book stand to make it easier for him to peel and learn Torah at one and the same time.

During the seven days of mourning, family members of Avraham David were told by his young friends how much they enjoyed studying the Talmud with him, and how easily the learning flowed from him.
 
Avraham David's stepfather said, "Since his understanding was of such a high level - so as not to be embarrassed that you caught on so much quicker than me, I would always prepare the chapter before learning with you." His
...their blood-soaked Talmud was buried with them.
stepfather also remarked that "after seeing you in prayer one could not help but be impressed. You uttered each word unhurriedly and with devotion....

"Avraham David was also careful of lason hara (speaking evil of others) and ran away from it as if it were fire. A friend told us: 'At times when we spoke idle conversation in our dorm room, talk that Avraham Dovid considered to be lashon hara, he would just get up and leave the room. He would not return until he was convinced that the conversation had ended.'"
 
Avraham David and his study partner, Segev Avichayil, were mortally wounded while they studied Talmud together. To make sure that they were dead, the terrorist added a coup de grace bullet in the back of the neck of each one of his victims. Since Jewish law mandates that a defiled holy book must also be buried, their blood-soaked Talmud was buried with them.


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