Latest from Yeshivat Hakotel

2 Nissan 5779
April 7, 2019
Dear Friends:

Last week, Israel and the entire Jewish people were moved by the return of missing Israeli soldier Zecharya Baumol ז"ל after 37 years.

People asked whether you sit Shiva for 7 days after 37 years?

This certainly must have been a different experience.

Someone asked what they did with his tzitzit. Zecharya's sister said that the reason her father always thought that Zecharya was alive was the tzitzit. There was a picture of the Syrians with a captured Israeli tank with Israeli soldiers on it.

An expert at the Israel Museum examined the picture and saw one of the soldiers with tzitzit that were blowing due to the speed of the tank or the wind. They thought for sure it was Zecharya. It turned out to be another soldier, but Zecharya was returned with his tzitzit, and the family requested that he be buried with them.

Rav Baruch Wieder, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Hakotel, was also at the Shiva and addressed the group. Rav Wieder had been both roommates and chevrutot with Zecharya in the army.  They did an officer's course together, which was very demanding. Often, after a full day the tank would need some repair. The repair needed to be done at night, in place of sleep. Zecharya was the one who would stay up and make sure the repairs were done.

He related the last he saw Zecharya was on a bus in Jerusalem. Zecharya joyfully told him that he had been called up for reserve duty, and how happy and excited he was to go. That reserve duty turned into the Lebanon War.

On the way out of the Shiva, Rav Wieder stopped to speak to some soldiers in uniform. He said to them, "I am the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Hakotel, a Yeshivat Hesder. We just sent 30 boys to Tzahal, and more coming soon. I am so proud to be able to prepare boys for the honor of serving in the army.

Is there anything else that fills you with more pride? We have our own army, our own state, and we serve our people and our land.

May the Baumol family be consoled among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

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