Dr. Yagil Henkin
Dr. Yagil HenkinYoni Kempinski

Dr. Yagil Henkin, the bereaved brother of Rabbi Eitam Henkin who along with his wife Naama was murdered by Hamas terrorists last Thursday, spoke to Arutz Sheva from the family home near the end of the shiva seven-day period of intense mourning late Thursday.

The young couple was gunned down as they drove outside of Itamar in Samaria, with their four children sitting in the backseat of the car.

According to Henkin, the shiva experience in which visitors come to comfort the family is a "complete lunacy asylum," and he noted he has to concentrate to understand what the visitors are saying, as each one speaks about different periods in the victims' lives.

However, he said he is grateful to those who come to tell him more about his brother and sister-in-law, adding, "I'm very grateful I don't have all the time to think."

While he is aware that their murder was part of the larger conflict engulfing Israel, the bereaved brother said the family tried to keep the funeral last Friday personal and not political "because it was our Eitam and our Naama."

As for the four young children now left as orphans, Henkin said that for now he has a limited role in their lives but the families together will shape roles for each family member to take on, and "we will do our best to keep their lives as normal as possible."

Asked to sum up who Rabbi Eitam Henkin was, his brother noted it depends who you ask.

To some, he was a history scholar and to others, a rabbi and Torah sage, but "for me both are right and wrong, because first and foremost he was everything," trying to do his best in everything as did his wife Naama.

"They were great parents, a loving couple," he added.

Rabbi Eitam, just 31 when he was cruelly murdered, had already published a book on halakha (Jewish law), as well as a book on history and another history book to be published next year. Likewise, he has another halakha book finished which will likely be published posthumously in a few months. He also authored 40 or so scholarly articles, both halakhic and academic.

"That's more than enough for a whole career for some people," noted Henkin, adding that his brother's death "took from the Jewish people one of the great rabbis of the next generation."