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The Murder of an Innocent 13-Year Old (8/2016)

11/03/2016 10:33:26 AM


It is hard to cope with our present world condition. There are overwhelming incidents of terrorist attacks and senseless murders. Our hearts grieve for each and every innocent whose life is snuffed out, because of causeless hatred. To rub salt into the wound, there is the chutzpah of the terrorists who proudly proclaim "responsibility" for these horrendous acts. I would like to amend their worthless words with a different term. They can claim "culpability" and our condemnation!

How far does hatred go? How close does terror strike? We mourn for ANY innocent. We are shaken when terror hits so close to someone we love.

The picture you see at the beginning of this article is my granddaughter's very good friend. I say "is" as she lives on in Heichal's heart, as well as in Gan Eden.

A Palestinian terrorist murdered Hallel in her bedroom as she was sleeping, after breaking into the Jewish community of Kiryat Arba. This is the community in which my son Yishai, his wife Yael, and six of my grandchildren live. Our hearts are heavy with sadness for such a senseless act of violence.

While Yishai was here, he tearfully told me how Heichal had sent him a text of what Hallel had written her. This was the last communication Heichal received before Hallel was murdered. 

I do apologize because my translation does not do justice to the original Hebrew with its beautiful idiom. In this communication, Hallel wrote: "To Heichal, You are truly my best friend and very funny and entertaining. I always enjoy being in your company....."

She continued writing about how she enjoys Heichal's stories, which Heichal has been composing, as well as about classes for dance. At the very end of her text, Hallel wrote: "I look forward to our continued friendship as time goes by........"

Reading the full text in Hebrew is an emotional experience, as I realize these are the last words of a young girl, sharing her love and friendship with my granddaughter. These are the thoughts of a youth, who was known for her good heart and her kind ways......

The Israeli Newspaper, Maariv, interviewed my granddaughter and six other friends of Hallel. You see, Heichal, is among seven girls aged 13, who came to the Shiva home, as they continued to mourn, miss, and try to find comfort on the loss of their best friend, They were part of those who came to comfort Hallel's family during the Shiva week. 

They talked to the newspaper interviewer about Hallel's unique laugh, which brought joy to all of  her friends and family. My granddaughter was quoted as saying: "Most of all, I miss seeing her, her presence, for everything connected to her."  She also said: "Hallel will always be remembered, and we will always remember her. So many things will remind us of her....What is important is to be happy especially for her sake, because she was a girl who was so happy." 

Heichal and her friends shared with the reporter how good-natured and compassionate a young woman Hallel was. They spoke about how Hashem takes the best back to Him; how Hallel chose to be a vegetarian because she didn't want animals to suffer on her behalf; and how she loved to dance and work on her dance routines with her group.  As hard as it is, these young girls will dance with all their strength, honoring Hallel and feeling her presence, as they dance in the future. 

We pray that Hashem comfort Hallel's parents and family. May Hashem comfort Heichal and all of Hallel's friends. May Hashem comfort the community of Kiryat Arba.  May the Holy One bring peace to Israel, and protect all the innocents in our troubled world.

In the midst of all this, we need to continue to pray, to work on behalf of peace, AND as hard as it remember  to work on being happy, for this is what Hashem wants us to be!


Rabbi Mitchell Kornspan

Fri, December 3 2021 29 Kislev 5782