Last Tuesday afternoon, as I walked into the Beit Chabad of Montevideo for a meeting, I was told that a friend of ours, David Fremd from Paysandú, had been stabbed and was in critical condition.

Paysandú is located approximately 400 kilometers from Montevideo, the capital. I took my tallit and tefillin, as well as a box of mezuzahs, and set out to be at David’s side, and to check the mezuzahs in his home and office, and replace them, if necessary.

About an hour into the four-hour drive, I received the message “BDE”—Baruch Dayan HaEmet, “Blessed is the True Judge.”

I understood that David had passed, but I continued on anyway so I could now accompany the Fremd family in their pain.

Much has been said and written about this shocking tragedy—a murder with anti-Semitic and terrorist motives that shook up the whole country.

I want to focus here on the following:

Although at first glance it seems that David’s life was snuffed out, I noticed that in a strange way, he is more alive now than ever before. When he was physically with us, he had a great impact on those with whom he came into contact. Now, after his death and all of the subsequent publicity regarding his life, David has had and continues to have an impact on many thousands of people he never met, who have been touched by the example he showed during his lifetime.

David was an individual who constantly sought to help his fellow man, no matter who. One recently published story that especially touched me was about a teenager who once walked into David’s store (he was a local businessman) and showed interest in a certain pair of jeans. When the saleswoman told him the price, he decided that it was out of his price range. He put the jeans down and started to walk out of the store. David, who happened to witness the exchange, walked over to the boy, and said he could take the jeans and pay when he could. David simply trusted him. And this measure of trust gave the boy the self-esteem and confidence needed to go on and succeed in life.

More than 10,000 people filled the streets of Paysandú to march in his honor this past Saturday night. I don’t know how many were motivated by the horror of the attack and the need to protest it, and how many were motivated by David’s life and the need to honor it. I think we can safely assume that many were motivated by both.

In his lifetime, David touched individuals. Many of them. After his brutal murder, he has touched multitudes. Many of them. During his lifetime, David helped make this world a better place for many. After his death, he has helped make the world an even better place for even more.

Only G‑d knows why He chose to turn David’s flame into a torch at this time and in this way.

What it brought me to reflect on is this: Am I living my life in a way that, when magnified, will do even greater good?

More than 10,000 people filled the streets of Paysandú to march in David Fremd's honor.
More than 10,000 people filled the streets of Paysandú to march in David Fremd's honor.