Following is the hesped delivered by President Reuven Rivlin during the Hoshana Raba levaya for terror victim Rav Nechemia Lavie HY”D, who was murdered in the motzei Shabbos stabbing/shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Dear Lavi family, parents Yechezkel and Tirzah, Neta and your children – Aron, Sara, Tzviya, Yisrael Tzvi, Chana, Ruth Shira, and little Dvir. Nechemia, Rabbi Nechemia, I stand here aside you, on your final journey, and look at your lovely children, so beautifully named, and at your wife, and my heart refuses to believe we are here.
“Save us, the murdered need you.” So we said in this morning’s prayers on Hashanah Raba. Each year we say these same words, yet this time, these words were increasingly bitter, more painful, more poignant than ever. How could it happen, that on the evening of Hoshana Raba, Jews were murdered on their way to the Western Wall.
“I will be his safety, from my hand shall you ask it,” (Bereshis 43:9). So said Judah of Binyamin, and so you behaved, Nechemia, when you left the safety of your house, to answer the calls for help. You were slain, and died for your people, for your nation, for your country, for your homeland. You fell while keeping guard over us. The responsibility you took, your shared concern, your dedication to the well-being of others, lit your way as a student of the Torah, as a teacher, as a rabbi, as a soldier, and as a father. In your dedication to others, and you limitless sacrifice, out of the love for Israel that beat within your heart, you left a will and testament of love and sacrifice for your children.
Even though you won’t be near them, and will not be able to steep their education with noble values, they will never forget your heroism and your love. We too will not forget.
My dear, family members, pupils, we are in a difficult, daily and ongoing struggle. The labor and pain of building – creating this land, and building Jerusalem; the growing pains – these pains were and still are intense. Sometimes, like today, these are actually excruciating painful. Our enemies know how to hurt us, but will not defeat us. The fight against terrorism requires determination and inner fortitude. We will reach the killers of the innocent and pure, and we will reach their inciters and their dispatchers, and will deliver them a stinging blow.
In your name, and on behalf of the entire nation, I want to offer my support for the security forces, operating decisively at this time around Jerusalem, and throughout the land of Israel against the murderers.
I grew up in Jerusalem, at a time when we were forbidden by use of force to reach the Kosel. I was a child in the days when blowing a Shofar near the Kosel was grounds for arrest by the British mandate. Those days will not return. We cannot, under any circumstance be afraid to reach the Kosel, which is the remains of the Beis HaMikdash. This year I was fortunate to daven at the Kosel in the presence of a great crowd, for the Hakhel ceremony. I call on all pilgrims to continue to come the Old City. We must keep on waking on the same stones that Rabbi Nehemiah and Aaron walked along, and prove through our actions that terrorism will fail to harm our way of life.
Dear Neta, in letter written by Nehemiah to his fellow IDF reserve unit members, he thanked you, and I quote: “The real volunteer is my wife at the home-front, who took on her shoulders alone the daily routine of the house during my absence.” Now it remains up to you to raise and educate your children. But under no circumstances will you be alone. We are all here with you. We will be with you”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)