To my dear friends and family,

Daniel and I just got back form paying a shiva call to the family of Segev Avichayil, a young boy murdered in the Merkaz Harav terrorist attack Thursday night. I was expecting a terrible scene of crying and shouting, of blaming and lots of unanswered questions. What we encountered was the exact opposite.

The apartment was a modest one, the only interior design being the Torah-books lined living room walls. This was clearly a home of Torah and piety. At least a hundred people were crowded into the room, all listening while the father of this young man spoke with total composure and clarity. Segev's mother and sister sat quietly listening to words which are difficult to imagine coming from a man whose son had been so cruelly torn from him. I tried to absorb every word, knowing that I was in the presence of greatness and would probably never encounter strength like this again.

Rabbi Avichayil was telling all the heartbroken people who came to comfort him that he was not broken. He said that he, his wife and all of their remaining children were stronger in their faith and love for G‑d than ever. He said that G‑d has chosen this time for the Jewish nation to return to its borders, and the terrorist was just an agent to test our resolve to resettle the land. G‑d had now chosen a new path for him and his family to embark on, and all he could do was thank G‑d for having been graced with such a precious soul for the years his son lived.

Someone there asked if he had questions for G‑d. He said that the Talmud is written in a way that there are always more questions to be asked, deeper layers to reveal and understand. He said that he did not have questions of G‑d; he just knows that he can not understand everything yet. He said that he had no questions, just perhaps he felt a lack of clarity. He went on to describe his son Segev, a boy so connected to Torah at just fifteen years old. He loved to learn with his father, and had deep respect for his father. He stood when his father entered the room, and always was very interested in how his father was doing. He called from yeshiva all the time to speak to his parents and siblings; always caring so much for what they were doing and how they were. He went regularly to the hospital to dance and sing and make people happy. His father asked him once if he was embarrassed to do it, and he could not understand the question. Why should he be embarrassed to make people happy? We have truly lost a special soul.

Segev's rabbi from Merkaz Harav was there. He told us that the reason Segev had been in the library the night of the shooting and not in the study hall was because the study hall was crowded and he did not want to be distracted from his learning. The terrorist killed all the students who could not escape the library fast enough. Segev died with his holy book still open in his hands.

May G‑d bring consolation to this beautiful family, who raised their son with the most beautiful Torah values and love for Judaism. May we see the redemption quickly in our days. We must all continue to pray for peace for the Jews in Israel, and for protection from the evil reincarnation of Haman and Amalek.

May we hear good news,