A vandal from my city…. A letter to Baruch

Dear Baruch Ben-Yigal, haShalom v’ha Bracha.

You and I do not know one another. We have never met face to face. But we have met in the deepest of all sorrows. I write as one father to another.

When I learned of the murder of your only son, your beloved son Amit, my heart was broken.. for him, for you and for all Israel. I stood up immediately after learning of Amit’s death and I recited kaddish for him.

I recited the prayer alone and without a minyan. God will forgive me. But my heart directed me to do so.

I share the loss, the pain, the grief and intense sorrow which you are experiencing and I wish that I could be near you to comfort you with tanchumim, words of condolence.

But I know that words cannot comfort you. The death of a child brings with it eternal grief and mourning.

From a distance I embrace you and bless you for the life you gave to Amit. He is, in essence, a part of my life and the lives of every Israeli Jew and of the hearts of decent Jews wherever they may dwell.

He died at the hands of a wicked Arab terrorist, a monster who had no regard for human life. I don’t think the murderer has yet been apprehended but I pray that he will meet a painful death for his crime.

Amit served in the Golani brigade with high honors. It is one of the most distinguished of our military forces. His memory will be everlasting among the defense forces of our country.

Today my pain and sorrow for you was increased when I read that a suspect had been taken into custody for having defiled Amit’s grave.

It never occurred to me that the criminal could be a woman. I doubted that a woman had the strength to dig up the grave and lift the heavy coffin to put a note inside. A detestable act.

But when I read further that the suspect was a 41 year old woman from my city—Rishon Lezion—I was in shock. Who could she be? Why did she desecrate a grave? What purpose did she have? Is she medically sane or is she delusional? Will we ever know her reasons for committing the act of vandalism?

I feel your pain, dear Baruch. A loving father as you should not have to suffer twice.. once for burying his only beloved child and again for seeing the desecration of his grave.

I know how ineffective my words are to you in the depth of your painful grief. But I have no other way to reach out to you and to share your sorrow—a sorrow that you will bear for the rest of your life. I hope that someone you know who will read this message will be able to send or deliver it to you from me.

I have suggested that the military establish a special fund in Amit’s memory….a Keren Amit. With the many contributions into the fund I think it would be a beautiful idea to plant a grove of trees in a park in Amit’s home-town… an eternal leaf-bearing tree that will demonstrate the strength, tallness and beauty of the brave young soldier for whom the grove will be named.

As for the female vandal from Rishon Lezion, hopefully she will be found guilty of desecrating a Jewish grave and of defiling the burial coffin.

I do not know what terms of imprisonment she may face but no matter the length, it will still be insufficient.

I place a curse upon her and I implore the Kadosh Baruch Hu to inflict punishment upon her for her violation of Kvod ha-met… respect for the dead.

My dear Baruch Ben-Yigal, beloved father of Amit… Hashem yevarech otcha b’briyut tovah v’orech yomim. Yehi nishmato shel Amit he- ahuv yihiyeh l’bracha l’olam va’ed.

Kabel na tanchumim mimeni mi kol ha lev u ‘mi kol ha nefesh. Amen.

May God bless you with good health and length of days. May Amit’s memory be for an everlasting blessing.

Please accept my condolences from all my heart and soul. Amen.

B’chavod rav u’b’yedidut… with great honor and friendship,

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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