Letter from a Shiva Visitor

To my dear friends and family,

Daniel and I just got back from paying a shiva call to the family of Segev Avichayil, the young boy murdered in the 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 sefer-lined living room walls. this was clearly a home of torah and yirat shamayim. 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.

Rav Avichayil was telling all the heartbroken people who came to comfort him that he was not broken. He said that he and his wife, and all of their remaining children were stronger in their faith and love for Hashem than ever.

He said that Hashem has chosen this time for the Jewish nation to return to its borders, and the terrorist was just a shaliach to test our resolve to resettle the land. Hashem had now chosen a new path for him and his family to embark on, and all he could do was thank Hashem for having been graced with such a precious neshama for the years his son lived.

Someone there asked if he had questions for Hashem.

He said that the gemara 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 Hashem, 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 15 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 aways 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 neshama.

Segev’s Rav 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 Bait Midrash was because the Bait Midrash 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 sefer still open in his hands.

May Hashem bring a nechama to this beautiful Jewish family, who raised their son with the most beautiful Torah values and love for yidishkeit. May we see the yeshuah quickly in our days. We must all continue to daven for Shalom for Klal Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael, and for protection from the evil reincarnation of Haman and Amalek.

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2 comments to Letter from a Shiva Visitor

  • Menachem Petrushka

    Today, Haaretz published what it said was a Charedi reponse to the murder od Segev and his Chaverim. Rabbi Dan Segal was quoted as saing that Mercaz Harav was hit because Religious Zionism violated the Shalosh Shevuos.

  • Shalhevet

    To Menachem (#1):
    And you believe it? The Haaretz on Charedim? Come on… Do you also believe that Mercaz Harav (the rabbis, no less) is planning a revenge attack, as was published in the media here….
    Living in Yerushalaim, I can bear witness that everyone is in mourning, everyone is struggling with the same questions, everyone is wondering how we will really do Purim. Adar just isn’t really happening here, not (even?) in the charedi neighborhoods. Please let’s not make up machlokes where it doesn’t exist. We need all the merits we can get.
    Did you hear about the reaction of the Satmar Rebbe? Why not bring up that?