* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin (http://inthelandoftheJews.blogspot.com)
1.Their names were Tomer, Eitam and Barak. However, they were not murdered in the terror attack on Dizengoff Street because of their personal identity, but only because they belonged to the Jewish nation. Today, the three of them will be brought to rest. We say that when someone passes away, a void is created that needs to be filled. Here are remembrances about each of them that can help make our own lives fuller:
*Tomer Morad* loved to take trips in Israel. He had planned his annual trip for Pesach with friends and sent them pictures and videos in advance so they could already get into the spirit of their adventure. A friend of his said in an interview that this anecdote represents who he was - the organizer, the leader of the pack.
*Eitam Megini* and Ayala were engaged a month ago. Eitam began to plan the wedding. His last message on WhatsApp to his grandfather, Chagai, was from a caring grandson regarding the guest list. "I want to talk with you regarding who you want to invite, but without any pressure," he wrote. His grandfather remarked that this message was only one example of his grandson's devotion and love.
*Barak Lufan*, married and the father of three, was an Olympic level kayaker. After he retired from professional racing, he dedicated many years to training young people in the sport and also trained those with disabilities on our Paralympic team. I heard a member of the Israel Paralympic Committee relate how Barak, on the one hand, knew how to smile and encourage and be all inclusive when it came to the physically challenged kayakers while, on the other hand, he was a complete professional who demanded excellence and achievement without any compromise.
In their memory.
2. And this message arrived on Friday, from Tel Aviv
Shalom Sivan, This is Yisrael Za'ira, from the 'Rosh Yehudi' community in Tel Aviv. We live near Dizengoff Street and in the moments when the terrorist attack began, we were celebrating a sheva berachot gathering for Hadas and Moshe Shabbat, a sweet newlywed couple. At the very moment that the bride and groom entered our living room we heard security forces arriving on the scene.
"In Nissan they were redeemed and in Nissan they will be redeemed again in the future." (Rosh HaShanah 11a) With these words I began to speak in our living room, choking back the tears. How desperately we need redemption in the present month of Nissan.
Hadas discovered our community during the Corona pandemic ,we held public prayers at Dizengoff Square, exactly where armed police and soldiers were on alert tonight for hours. This is also where Hadas found Moshe, her other half.
I looked at the two of them and at the guests, some of whom were in shock, and we hesitated about what to do next. We decided that the dream of the terrorist was that we should scatter and cancel our festivity, that we should not gladden the hearts of the new couple in establishing their home in Israel. So we continued. We blessed the couple, we ate, we played music and danced. We chose life. Each time we peeked at our cell phones and saw videos of the panic and hysteria going on outside, we decided that it was preferable to focus on what was happening here inside. We felt that in doing so we would be giving strength to those who, at that very moment, were searching for the terrorist.
My wife Moriah and I arrived at Tel Aviv from a visit to Ma'ale Hever, a community in Judea, south of Har Hevron. It was strange to receive calls from there asking if we were alright after we had been ordered by the security forces to remain in our homes and not go out. During the past few weeks, we have been reminded of how close to each other all of us really are. Beersheba, Hadera, Bnei Brak and tonight Tel Aviv, too.
This evening, at the beginning of Shabbat, we are planning a Kabbalat Shabbat prayer for the general public at Kikar Dizengoff in Tel Aviv. All are invited. We will be there to pray for the ascent of the souls of the murdered and for the recovery of the wounded, to be together after a difficult night for us all, and to add life to what had been, just last night, a place of death. Shabbat Shalom from Dizengoff.
3. A pause for a diffferent kind of memory, of someone who lived out her years:
A woman named Nechama
She could have closed herself off in academia, but instead, she went outside the ivory tower to teach Torah to everyone - students, new immigrants, soldiers, cab drivers. Professor Nechama Leibowitz Ob"m the esteemed teacher of Tanach (Bible), passed away 25 years ago the first week of Nissan. She did not have children of her own, but she taught ,educated and inspired multitudes, including me. I discovered her writings at the age of 15, and for the first time the weekly Torah portion seemed meaningful and relevant to my own life.
Here are two stories about her:
* An older lecturer once spoke about the time he was invited to give a class on the subject of Shmita (the Sabbatical year) in a religious moshav. He had prepared material that was profoundly complex. Nechama was in the audience, approached him at the end of the class, and said: "I wonder how much the farmers in the audience understood ..." The lecturer said that he understood her message to him, that in her classes the objective was not to demonstrate how much she knew (and she knew a lot) but to teach the public.
* A student of hers related how every time the students in her class asked questions, Nechama asked them questions in return. She did not want just to teach the material but to make the students ponder, investigate, and discover on their own. She once wrote: "Everyone needs to read the Torah in their own way, unique in this world, that never was before and never will be again."
Editor Rochel Sylvetsky adds:
Nechama was a driving force in my life. After meeting this living Torah phenomenon as her student in Machon Gold in the 1960s, she gave me all her weekly parasha sheets and I continued sending her answers to Parshat Shavua questions with my husband's participation, from the USA. After aliya, I attended her classes at Hebrew U. and at YU Israel campus, later in Tikvatenu with my daughter, - and she invited me to participate in the weekly class at her home for Tanach teachers (I had a degree in Math from CCNY but attended YU's TI also and was awarded the Tanach prize there).
I wrote the shloshim memorial piece for her that was featured in the now defunct Religious Zionist daily, Hatzofe in which I said that she brought Gemara-like analysis and synthesis to the study of Torah and the explanations of its traditional commentators, leading women - who had always studied the parsha - to desire more and more Torah study, and paving the way for the Women's Torah study movement.
It is important to remember that she also emphasized values in Torah study- her sheets for Tazria and Metzora, for example, were based on values they contained.
*A story: One day she told me that she could never understand motion problems and since I taught math, wondered if I could help her. I prepared a lesson, came to her home, and we went throught the whole S=VT idea and problems, and she listened quite seriously - I think she knew the subject matter perfectly well and just wanted to make this Tanach-loving new immigrant feel good, and devised a way to do it.
^Another story: Nechama said one day that she would have given up all her acclaim to feed an egg to her own child....her values were part of her soul.
In her memory