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Friday, October 24, 2014
Rabbinic Mission to Israel
Day 4: The Silver Platter
By Rabbi Mark Greenspan
Rabbi Mark Greenspan
Second Lieutenant Bar Rahav, 21, of Ramat Yishai, was killed in battle.

I am not a stranger to sorrow. I have officiated at hundreds of funerals and visited thousands of Shiva houses. But yesterday as I left the home of Effi and Naama Rahav, parents of slain soldier Bar Rahav, I cried. I cried for Bar who had his whole life before him. I cried for his parents whose lives will never be the same. I cried for his two younger brothers and sister who will follow in their brother’s footsteps, willingly serving the land and the people of Israel. And I cried for the all of us because we have been denied such a simple and elusive thing – peace.

Bar Rahav grew up in Ramat Yishai, a small community in the northern part of Israel. Were it not for Bar’s death while serving in Gaza this past Sunday, I would not have had any reason to visit this lovely little community. Bar’s family belongs to one of our Masorti synagogues, Congregation Sukkat Shalom. He was an accomplished athlete and a good student. He has two younger brothers and a younger sister. Ha’aretz devoted two paragraphs to Bar the day after his death:

Second Lieutenant Bar Rahav, 21, of Ramat Yishai, was killed on Saturday afternoon when he was struck by an anti-tank rocket fired at a Puma APC near the refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Mortally wounded, he was evacuated from the battlefield, but died of his wounds. Rahav is survived by his parents, Effi and Na’ama, and three siblings: his brothers Nir, 18, and Rotem, 11, and his sister Ron, 14.

A recent graduate of the officers’ course, Rahav was to have begun supplementary army studies. His uncle, Moran Binyamin, said that Rahav played water polo for Hapoel Kiryat Tivon. “Although he could have been an outstanding athlete, he chose combat service in the army,” he said. “We spoke on Thursday, and he said he was in good spirits. I was worried about him and asked whether he was protected, and he said he was all right. Then I realized that he had gone in. I was afraid for him because he always did whatever was required. I prayed that loss would not come to us. He was an amazing brother — a wonderful example for his siblings.”

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