Killing the Best of Us

A glimpse into the life of Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai, killed by terrorists on Thursday, written by someone who knew him.

Prof. Shmuel Neumann

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One balmy Thursday evening several years ago, on a clear night, the kind of night that makes you feel great to be alive, I stood enjoying the clean air of Samaria. I was approached by a young man who asked if I could help him deliver food. As I had just moved to Israel, and had nothing but time on my hands, I unhesitatingly said yes.  It was then that he explained to me that in order not to embarrass people we would meet at 2:00 a.m. to deliver the food.  I slept a few hours and when I met him his old, beat up car was
His old, beat up car was filled with cartons.
filled with cartons.

Thinking that there were only about 100 families in the small community which anti-Semites like to call a “settlement” and in which I lived, I thought that this wouldn’t be too hard – how many people could be in need of food for the Sabbath? I was shocked that our first stop was somewhere else, in a Jewish village named Chomesh. (Chomesh was destroyed later in the Disengagement along with Gaza). This was in the middle of the intifada and I was terrified and asked my driver if he wasn’t afraid to be on the roads at this hour. He told me he was in the Golani Brigade and that nothing would happen to us while doing a mitzvah (good deed). He drove up to each house and I brought the box of food to the door and ran back.  We went to Einav and Avnei Chefetz and other Jewish communities in Samaria coming back only to fill up his car again with more food cartons. We returned after 5:00 a.m. 

This courageous, decorated Golani fighter was a gentle soul who found his calling in teaching very young children, whose love for Torah was ignited by his warm gentleness and zest for life.  His name was Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai.

Debate is raging over whether one Jewish soldier is worth a thousand Arab terrorists. This one Jewish soldier was worth millions.

In the next war, expected to erupt in the next few months, I think we need to fight without taking prisoners. We do not want to kill, but are commanded that if an enemy comes to ambush us, we have an obligation to go out and anticipate him.

Debate is raging over whether the Hesder yeshivas are producing subversive soldiers who
This one Jewish soldier was worth millions.
will refuse orders. This defamation is a smoke screen. These boys are the backbone of the Army, while many of the anti-religious kibbutz or Tel Aviv café aficionados define themselves as post-Zionists and do the barest minimum to get through their compulsory draft. It is the fire of the Hesder boys’ idealism which fuels today’s Army. It is their blind trust and faith in the Almighty and their love of the Land that keep Israel’s Defense Force  viable.

Debate is raging over whether we need to make one sided concessions and gestures to an illusory peace, bowing to the relentless, almost psychopathic pressure of President Obama. What this debate is really about is whether we trust in the Almighty. Peace is not achieved by negotiations. Peace is one of the rewards for fulfilling the commandments. One of the commandments is settling the land. Another commandment is inheriting the land and making it our own.

They may kill the best of us now, but in the end the nations of the world will have to give an accounting, particularly those, according to the prophet Yoel, who “split the Land.” The Almighty loves the Torah, the Jewish people and the Holy Land and will punish severely those nations that attack any of these.

They killed one of the best of us. But like his name, Chai (which means life), he will live forever in the afterlife, while those who attacked him are damned.

We can make our lives meaningful by following in his footsteps.
The enemy is not just the Arab that pulled the trigger, but the organizer of the terrorist group, in this case PA head Mahmoud Abbas, as well as those who fund and train them and those who supply the guns.

One Jew named Chai is worth more than the two million so called Palestinians who  inhabit Judea and Samaria. Barak may give the order to evacuate Jews, but the Almighty gave the order thousands of years ago to evacuate the gentiles, as every square inch of the Holy Land was divided among the tribes of Israel. Rabbi Chai loved this land.

They may have killed the best of us, a young father of seven children, but in his short life he lived fully, helping others and serving as an example to them. We can make our lives meaningful by following in his footsteps.