I’ve been doing this blog long enough to open up to other dimensions of life here. Just this Thursday we went to the gravesite of a person who was my friend and neighbor, an incredible human being. When Moshe and I made Aliyah and were greenhorns to a great degree- Gilad always spoke regular to us as if we were regular Israelis- never made us in any way feel different or uncomfortable. He treated us as siblings and was family to us – the only family we really had here. I thought I would share some things with you written by his wife, Hagar. Let this piece be leh-eelooy nishmato!
Hagar: Eesroo Chag Shavuot is the date Gilad Zar was murdered 16 years ago. I want to tell you about him. Why is it important to tell you? Because he was a Jewish soul that was taken by Hashem to heaven while he was still young and healthy, a father of a family with lots of tasks yet to do, plans and dreams still not fulfilled- there is great significance to this- think about his great personality and his special soul , to what you want to take from learning about him and how it will affect the way you want to live your life……. Every scope of Gilad’s life had fullness to it- his cup ran over literally. He was energetic, full of motivation, ran from place to place, got a lot done and was the best at what he did. It is easy to identify with him. He was easy to be friends with. The oldest of eight children, he was born on Kibbutz Be’erot Yitzchak and grew up in Moshav Nechalim. Later the family moved the Karney Shomron and he went to learn in Yeshivat Or Etzion. Gilad became an officer in the IDF in Nachal Gdood 50 Paratroopers. I met him there when I myself was an officer after the evacuation of Yamit in Sinai and the transfer of the communities to Gush Katif. I was brought secular and of course Gilad was Torah observant from birth- he brought into a new world eventually of return to the real Jewish roots.
A month and a half before Gilad was murdered he was injured in a drive by shooting. He evacuated himself, was treated and returned to his job as the senior Kabat of the Shomron. He at the time of the murder had eight children, ages- 15-3. He did not have the merit of seeing our children marry nor did he meet our grandchildren. But he does see them from heaven and participate in our simchas from the heavenly realm he is in. We feel it.
Gilad helped establish over thirty communities in the Shomron. The place he was murdered became an important junction and the new road paved in his name- “Gilad’s Way”( Tzeer Gilad) which connects Gav Hahar to the western part of the Shomron which slopes down to the coast. On this road, The Gilad Farm- Chavat Gilad was set up, a community which is growing now too. Gilad also led the bulldozers to where all the new roads were to be paved into and on all the new settlements. He worked nights as days in order to make sure not an inch of State land was ever trespassed or poached on. Gilad loved the army and loved wearing his army uniform. He gave everyone a sense of complete security. He was the Shomron land scout when things were first being mapped out, a pathfinder and reconnoiter that knew his way around every tree Tel cave and far away wadi, and loved his job.
Gilad also loved home. He loved raising his children and would help with household tasks gladly. He would wash dishes, wash the floor, cook, shop, feed the kids, put the little ones to bed, shower them, change diapers, prepare sandwiches for school and kindergarten and would always say “To have honor- you must work hard!” He never wasted time on sleep. Think about that- he was thoughtful, responsible, shared, gave and was diligent. He had self- sacrifice for real values. When people asked him how much sugar to put in his coffee he would say “With a wife like mine- who needs sugar!” He was humorous and used humor as a tool for dealing with the various challenges of life. One of the most touching moments of my life was when my father died he said “Now I will be your father too”. Then he wasn’t being funny but thoughtful.
When I would work at night cleaning up the home and taking advantage of the little ones sleeping to do other labors he would say “If Hashem wanted you to work- he would make the sun shine at night honey!” Think of that- Truthful humor, flexibility, thoughtfulness and generous! A good heart makes us rise above everything! He said we have to live what we learn in the Torah. Gilad was the expert fixer and would fix all the broken washing machines, dryers, fridges and never take a dime for doing it from anyone. When something broke he would be there- IMMEDIATELY! Think of that- Concern for your neighbor, help, goodfriend, persistent in doing good deeds.
Gilad established Itamar and was the first mayor, the first security head and leader of the first nucleus of families to come out of Machon Meir, many of them baaley teshuva. Lots of these people came out of kibbutzim and were fresh in keeping mitzvoth, not knowing all the minute details of halacha or tradition- in prayer and in practice. In his simple way, as he did with me, he brought them all close to yiddishkiet- he was wonderful at that! Think about that- if each person reading this right now would reach out and help another person know a little more about torah and mitzvoth how that would shake the world!
Gilad was like a ruler- straight, clean, organized, never cursed, maybe a little cynical at times but to a boundary- He always said- “Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you- YOU DO IT!” He was a person of truth- no shows. Shape your personality around the good Jewish values we hold so preciously close to us! Read books about Jewish heroes!
Gilad was also on top of everything else the ambulance driver and urgent care volunteer. Many Shabbat meals were spent without him because duty called and he went to take a woman to give birth or an injured child to the emergency room. Gilad also always thought out of the box- a bobby pin can be used for just about everything, an old washing machine motor turned into something else- a scale for measuring could be made out of a glass jar and a line drawn with magic marker and just fill it with water- just about anything could be used instead of anything! THINK OUT OF THE BOX! There was always an alternative if one thing didn’t work- then you just used something else! Creative thinking! NEVER SAY “I CAN’T DO IT!” For instance- women shouldn’t say “I don’t understand a Shabbat clock”……… nor should they not know how to screw in a lightbulb.
There is so much more but I guess you get a picture of what a tsaddik was like- very involved in fixing the world!
I hope that the things said here in the name of dear Gilad have opened up your thinking and that you take his example and implement them into your lifestyle.
All of these things are example of miseeroot nefesh (self sacrifice). For Eretz Yisrael, for your fellow friend and neighbor close by and far away maybe. It is about a way of life that you choose by putting aside your personal needs for the doing of great things. It doesn’t have to be nor shouldn’t it be dying on Kiddush Hashem. Its true haroogey malchut are on a very high level,that their souls are elevated to the seat of Kavod, but our actions here in this world will fix this world- Our goodness should match their personal goodness- we feel their influence and hashgacha on us always. Yihee nishmato tzroora betzrore hachayim- END
It hard to fathom all that we have experienced here on Itamar with the loss of these precious souls. I cannot begin to tell you what amazing a person Gilad was for me, for us –One time (out of the many) he took me to give birth we arrived at the hospital and asked me well- if it’s a girl go through the right side of the door and if it’s a boy- go through the left-He was trying to humor me as my contractions were pretty bad and I was getting ready to scream. That’s the way he was…. Driving the ambulance through Ramallah in the height of the intifada (there was no bypass road yet at that time), he demonstrated complete calm and was like a father/brother / care bear that really just made me feel totally safe and sound. Another time he took us up to Mount Eval to meet the archeologist that discovered Joshua’s altar way before it even became publicized – who were we that we should have such an honor I asked him. He just smiled sheepishly- He always made us feel special. His actions will be engrained in my memory forever and will hopefully also be an example for our children and theirs in the continuing challenges we face along the way- the way we continue to pave towards geulah shelaymah! Xoxoxoxoox