* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
The IDF campaign in Jenin concluded last night at the cost of the life of one Israeli soldier, David Yehuda Yitzhak.
Eliyahu Cohen from Beit El wrote about him as follows:
This morning, details of the life of David Yehuda Yitzhak, a soldier in the elite Egoz commando unit, were published. David was a member of the volunteers' club in our town. He was the mentor of my son Yehonadav for many years. This evening ,we will celebrate Yehonadav's Bar Mitzvah. Sadly, David Yehuda will be missing..
Exactly one year ago, Yehonadav celebrated his 12th birthday. Together with the official picture of David, we are asking for publication of this picture: David bringing joy to our son, a boy with special needs, on his 12th birthday.
We were overwhelmed this morning with many memories. Here is one more: For the last several years, even when David was already serving in the IDF and was no longer our son's official mentor in the club, David and his siblings volunteered to take Yehonadav with them on Yom Kippur afternoon in order to make our fast easier."
Our condolences to his family, and may his blessed memory be a source of strength to all.
There is special enlightenment that comes from remembering someone's mitzvot when he passes away and there is also enlightenment from learning someone's words of Torah on the day of their passing.
280 years ago today Rabbi Chaim ben Attar, known as Or HaChaim (the title of his commentary on the Torah) passed away. He was a pre-eminent Torah scholar from Morocco who, towards the end of his life, made aliyah despite the perilous journey involved. He is held in high esteem by Torah students of every community and every background. Here are three thoughts from among his many writings:
*"And you shall love your fellow as yourself -- in order to perfect yourself."* In other words, other people are never a bother, but actually assist you in achieving personal perfection.
*"He (God) commanded us to toil in the Torah, to plumb its depths. Not only to understand its words on the surface, but to extract wisdom from them through exhaustive contemplation."* In other words, God commanded us to exert ourselves in learning. Or HaChaim warns against superficiality and advocates for profound examination and investigation of what we study.
*"If people could feel the sweetness and pleasantness of the Torah -- they would go out of their minds in its pursuit . . . because the Torah includes all the good things in this word."* In other words, we are called upon to react emotionally and be inspired. To pay attention to what a wonderful and incredibly sweet treasure the Torah happens to be.
In their memory.