Hagay Lober
Hagay LoberArutz Sheva

Hagay Lober, the father of Yehonatan Lober, who fell in battle in the Gaza Strip, spoke of the pain that his wife Tehiya and other bereaved mothers are suffering following the words of Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, and said that he tried to arrange a meeting between the Chief Rabbi and the bereaved mothers, but the rabbi's office refused.

In his Facebook post, Lober wrote: "My wife Tehiya, a bereaved mother, is upset by what the Rishon Lezion (Sephardic chief rabbi) said. Avivit Granot, a bereaved mother, cried for 24 hours because of the same words, that stuck like an arrow in her heart. There are many bereaved mothers and wives who are pained beyond measure by the Rabbi's words."

He wrote that he offered to hold a meeting with the rabbi: "I suggested that they meet with the Rishon Lezion. I naively thought he would be happy to meet them and clarify what he said. Unfortunately, the head of his office refused. 'Let them write a letter to the rabbi and he will answer,' he said. If I were the Chief Rabbi, I would be honored to meet with these heroic mothers. Not only would I not refuse the meeting, I would initiate it."

Lober continued, "I would greet them in the most luxurious room in the Chief Rabbinate building, serve the finest refreshments, something that my wife and I took special effort to prepare. I would sit and listen to them, hear their pain, their difficult feelings. I would cry together with them about the pain they suffered because of what I said. I would be silent and hear them speak, experience their grief and internalize it deep in my heart. Then I would talk to them, calmly, softly."

He went on to describe the meeting if he were the Chief Rabbi: "First I would salute the victims, I would comfort them and express deep understanding for their pain, I would use my broad Torah knowledge to bring them sources, yes also from Maimonides, about the sanctity of their fallen sons. Only then, maybe only then, would I gently explain my point of view and make room for theirs. But I didn't get to be the Chief Rabbi."

He later added, "I sincerely believe that precisely during these days we need to meet. Really sit down and talk, eye to eye, without partitions of written words, void of any human emotion. This is what many do, this is what my friends do, and this is what I myself do in meetings with those whose words before Simchat Torah (October 7)were like swords in my heart."

"It is vital to arrange such a meeting. Have the courage to meet," he wrote. "Knowing that sharing is wonderful and important and everyone has to speak their mind. Everyone must be given the opportunity to voice their opinion, sensitively and with a deep understanding of our common denominator - out of our love for Israel."

Lober again called out to Rabbi Yosef, "It's not too late. Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, hold a meeting with the bereaved mothers. This is the honor of the Torah, this is your honor, this is the honor of our fallen sons."