Malkia Gross OBM
Malkia Gross OBMNo Credit

Great mourning has come over the Hesder Yeshivas, which combine military service and Torah study, after Sergeant First Class (Res.), Malkia Gross, a student at the Or Etzion Yeshiva, fell in battle, one of eight Hesder students and alumni who fell in the past week.

Malkia was in his seventh year in the Or Etzion Hesder. In the past week three students of the Shalavim Hesder Yeshiva: Sergeant Shalom Menachem, Sergeant Yakir Ya'akov Levi, and Sergeant Elyahu Moshe Zimbalist, two alumni of the Ma'alot Hesder Yeshiva: Senior Staff Sergeant Major Elon Waiss and First Sergeant Tzur Abraham, an alumnus of the Otniel Hesder Yeshiva - Captain Eitan Koplovich, and student at the Yeshiva of Yaffo - Sergeant First Class (Res.) Saadia Yaakov Dery fell in battle.

The Or Etzion Yeshiva eulogized Malkia: "When Shabbat ended we were broken. The notification of Malkia's passing did not let us rest. 'One with whom men are pleased, God is pleased,' those words were totally true with our beloved Malkia. The constant smile on his face, his pleasant way of speaking, and his endless wit captured everyone's heart. He was loved and he loved, a trustful friend, saw the good in everything, and feared G-d. Malkia was a central fixture in our study hall, he was known for his straightforward manner of study and deep understanding. He studied the Torah with great modesty."

The Yeshiva noted that "over the past year, he served for months in the reserves. As a loyal student of Rabbi Chaim Druckman OBM, he fulfilled his mission with joy, did not doubt, and did not complain. The teachings of Rabbi Druckman, of 'I am here for anything that's asked of me,' was his simple way of life. He loved the Torah of the land, the Land of Israel, and the people of Israel. Just a few days ago, he went back for another round of reserve duty, with the same life mission, and sanctification of G-d's name in life and death.

"Rabbi Druckman would cry for people who would lose their lives for their nation and land, and emphasize that while their lives were short, they were full of great meaning and significance. Now we too cry for the loss of Malkia, who lived a short life but full of meaning and significance. This is an important and difficult time for the people of Israel, and we trust in our bravery and righteousness. 'It is a time of trouble for Jacob, but he shall be delivered from it.'"

His friend Ezra Block, eulogized: "Malkia was the friend who I could laugh with, with his special sense of humor. The friend I could study with, with his intelligence and creative thinking. I could discuss values, with his sense of morals and unwillingness to compromise on his values. He was a friend that I could just spend time with. He thought deeply about everything, he would always look into things, gently and humbly, to find out the simple truth, and he would live by that. He would never compromise on his values, even over small things. All this he did with simplicity, humbly, in the most precise way possible, with the fear of G-d."