Rabbi Lau in the Henkin home
Rabbi Lau in the Henkin homeHezki Ezra

Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, together with former Hevron Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, paid a condolence visit on Tuesday to the parents of Rabbi Eitam Henkin, who was murdered together with his wife Naama in front of their four children last Thursday.

The meeting took place at the home of Rabbi Herzl Yehuda and Rabbanit Dr. Chana Henkin, whose son and daughter-in-law were murdered by Hamas terrorists as they drove outside Itamar in Samaria. 

Rabbi Lior, a former dean of the Nir Yeshiva where Rabbi Eitam Henkin learned, and Rabbi Lau, former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi and the father of current Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau, praised the bereaved parents for the selfless way they made aliyah and immigrated to Israel from the US, initially settling in the Beit Shean Valley in northern Israel.

At a certain point in the condolence meeting with the mourners, Rabbi Lau asked if the four children, now left orphans, understand what happened, in particular asking about the oldest child.

The grandmother responded that "I really appreciate these questions, I know where they come from. Everyone feels that the family is connected to them and wants to be a part. I've taken on myself not to answer about the children because they need their space."

Rabbi Lau explained the question, saying, "I ask because I eulogized the Dikshtein family at Merkaz Harav" Yeshiva in Jerusalem, recalling a couple who was murdered by terrorists as they drove in their car with their 9-year-old son. 

"When I arrived at the funeral, the oldest son stood up, Tzvi Yehuda who was then 18, and said, 'dad and mom, before I leave you I want to tell you that I take responsibility,'" added Rabbi Lau, noting the son took on himself to take care of the younger orphans.

"It isn't simple," said the rabbi with a sigh. Rabbi Lau, who himself survived the Holocaust as a child, added, "I remember what it is to be 8-years-old, I was also an 8-year-old orphan with no father and mother."

"It isn't easy to understand what it is to be without a father and mother."

Rabbanit Henkin noted to Rabbi Lau that Tzvi Yehuda, who the rabbi mentioned, was in fact a friend of her son Eitam.

Extended video of the condolence visit, in Hebrew, can be viewed below.

הרב דב ליאור והרב ישראל מאיר לאו בניחום האבלים