Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My Friend Is Gone Forever

From the first day we met him we called him "the officer". He was very precise with his words, always to the point, always somehow knew what was going on before we did. We were a hesder unit, made up of a few different Yeshivot. He was the only one from Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva, and he instantly became a leader. Amichai Merchavia from Eli. The first Shabbat we were in the army, we were given the weekend off, but two soldiers had to stay on base. We all looked at each other, no one wanted to be the guy stuck there on our first weekend off. But not a moment passed before Amichai's hand was in the air. "Ani mitnadev", he said. I'll volunteer. Those words defined who he was, always volunteering first to do the things no one else wanted to do. It became a matter of pride to try and volunteer before Amichai. We were stationed in and near Eli for a few months, and constantly went to his house for good food and company. We saw then where he acquired his wonderful traits, of always looking out for and helping others. At our "tekes kumta", the ceremony upon finishing training, he received an award for "chayal miztayen", most excellent soldier award. No one was surprised, and no one deserved it more. He left our unit to go to commander training, and after to officer training, as we all knew he would. He strongly disagreed with the Disengagement from Gaza, and was very torn about being in the army while it went on. He wrote a letter to a high ranking officer, letting the officer know how much, and why, he disagreed with the disengagement. Six months later he was punished for the letter, and lost his command on his unit. I saw him then, when he was still an officer but in command of nothing. He was depressed, but told me that he still had people on his side and he was going to get back in. I didn't hear how, but I was happy when I heard he was given command of another unit. I knew it was what he wanted. The army was his life. He was very religious, never compromising on anything, and knew all the Halchot as they relate to the army. He was an inspiration, a natural born leader, someone people enjoyed learning from. The last time I saw him, he gave my wife and I a ride home after we had spent a reunion Shabbat with our unit. I offered him to come in if he would like, but he wanted to go over to his Yeshiva, across the street, to talk to his Rabbi. He said he would try to come by later, but in the end couldn't. And now he never will.
We made a yearbook after we finished training. One of the columns was "Where we'll be in twenty years". We said Amichai will be the Head of the Yeshiva of Eli. It would have been perfect for him. He loved beng in control, and was good at it. He loved Torah, loved teaching, and was an excellent leader. He loved Israel, and he loved our people, and he was willing to give up anything to help others. In the end, he gave up everything for others. He will never become a Rosh Yeshiva, but he has already taught us the lesson he held most dear.


Blogger Cosmic X said...

Yehi Zichro Baruch!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Baruch Dayin Ha'Emet...

3:20 PM  
Blogger tafka PP said...

ברוך דיין האמת

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

6:17 AM  

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