with profound grief we mourn
Ha-Rav Nechemia Lavi HY"D
Ra"m in our Yeshiva, Ateret Yerushalayim
who was murdered in the heart of the Old City of Yerushalayim
while attempting to stop a terrorist attack
In our Name and In the Name of Ha-Rav Nechemia Lavi:
This Time We Will Also Overcome
During the joy of the holiday of Sukkot, tragedy has struck: Thursday night, young parents, Ha-Rav Eitam and Na'ama Henkin, were murdered before their children's eyes. Good and righteous people. And on Motzaei Shabbat, good people were again murdered as they walked innocently in the Old City. One of them is Ha-Rav Nechemia Lavi, Ra"m in our Yeshiva, Ateret Yerushalayim. A man with a gentle soul, a sweet and good man, who never wronged another person – whether Jew or Arab.
The Midrash relates that before his death, King Darius requested: Do not mourn me until a person comes and speaks ill of me. And no one came. Likewise, we can say with confidence, that although there will be much pain over his death, no one will come and speak ill of Rav Nechemia.
Rav Nechemia was an exalted person, girded with Midot Tovot (sterling character traits). He was completely kind. A person who never spoke ill of others. He was a person who delved into the depths of Torah, who learned Torah day and night, out of a love of Hashem and a love of toiling in Torah learning.
To our great distress, we must acknowledge that these difficult events, these tragedies, are not surprising. Since the appearance of Islam, Muslims have persecuted us, hated us, forced us to convert to Islam, expelled us and murdered us. Although they have done so less than Christians, this is of no comfort. We all remember how the Mufti of Yerushalayim, Haj Amin al-Husseini worked hand-in-hand with Hitler and cooperated with him, on condition that in the Arab countries, Arabs could freely murder Jews.
Nothing has changed, except for one thing: With the kindness of Hashem, we now have an army, a courageous army, a capable army, a devoted army. An agent of Hashem. Not a conquering army – but as its name indicates: The Israel Defense Force.
It is true that since the beginning of the return to Zion and the establishment of the State of Israel, we have endured many tragedies. But we must view things in proportion: The light is inestimably greater than the darkness. Obviously, the pain of every Jew who is murdered rends the heart, and all the more so if that person is your close friend, someone who has been close to your soul for so many years.
At the same time, this does not erase our joy for all of the goodness we have received. After all, terror does not have any actual power. It cannot determine political events. It is purely psychological warfare whose goal is to break the spirit, and weaken the citizens' trust in the State, its leaders and its army.
We declare here in our name and in the name of Ha-Rav Nechemia Lavi, who has arisen on high, that we go hand-in-hand with our Nation, with our State and with our army. We have experienced much greater hardships and we have overcome them, and with the help of Hashem, this time we will also overcome.