SaadiaCourtesy of the Yeshiva

The head of the Yeshivat Hesder in Jaffa, Rabbi Eliyahu Mali, eulogized his student, Sergeant first class (res.) Saadia Yaakov Dery, who was killed by a mortar shell fired at the Neztarim Corridor in the Gaza Strip where he was serving.

"Saadia, our dear student, was one of the best students, one of the oldest students, one of the most diligent students," Rabbi Mali eulogized. "One of the most righteous students. Always happy, always smiling, always optimistic. A loving husband, and an invested father in his little girls."

"He had finished his rabbinical exams and planned to go out and teach Torah. He consulted with me where he could invest his strengths and raise students for Torah and mitzvot. Now, he is teaching in heaven. The pain and sorrow are great, the void is great. Who can console us?"

"We are comforted together with all the people of Israel in the building of the people of Israel in its land. The building of the material world and the building of the spirit. This was Saadia's aspiration, and he continues it from above together with us here in our land and cities."

His teacher, Rabbi Ezra Heiman, noted: "Saadia, who built his home in Jaffa almost two hundred years after the first Aliyah, reminded me very much of the figures in that Aliyah. They had a very natural combination of Torah study, observance of mitzvot, Zionist activity, and earning a living."

"Saadia told me that he could see himself continuing for many years in the combination of dividing his time between Torah study and other activities," Rabbi Heiman continued. "Saadia returned to the Zeitun neighborhood with his unit, continuing the Jewish life that had ceased there a hundred years earlier. In this neighborhood Saadia gave his life, continuing the torch of deep and simple Zionism, natural and rooted, of Torah and action, showing the way to us and to future generations."

His close friend Michael Cohen addedl: "Saadia- a man of the people, friends of the elderly neighbor, the new student in the building, the haredi from the synagogue. "Do you know Saadia?" Everyone knows him and how he treated everyone. He was a man of family, crazy about his wife and children. It was amazing to see him with them. In general with children, a moment with him and they laugh. A man of giving. When help is needed, always with a smile, he always had time, always giving a good feeling."

The Hesder Yeshiva Union stated: "We mourn the death of Saadia Dery. A soldier in the Alexandroni Brigade and a senior student in the Jaffa Yeshiva, he fell in a holy war. On behalf of the heads of the Yeshiva and the rabbis and students, we embrace the family, the rabbis of the yeshiva, its students and graduates and pray for a decisive victory of our brave soldiers over our despicable and cruel enemies."