Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Av 5761 - July 25, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











R' Aharon Avadian, Hy"d
by Yisrael Rutman

On Monday afternoon, July 2nd, Aharon Avadian, father of four from Zichron Yaakov, was shot and killed by terrorists outside an Arab town in Israel. His death did not attract the attention of the world media. Nor did Israeli broadcasting give it more than cursory coverage. It seemed to be just another in a long list of Jews murdered by Palestinian Arabs over the past year, over the past century. What was there, after all, to make his killing newsworthy? He was not a well-known personality. It was not particularly brutal, as these things go. He was not a "settler," "occupying Palestinian territory." He was not a soldier, but a civilian, on his way home from work one afternoon, traveling within the pre-1967 borders, in undisputed Israeli territory. So what was there to say about him? The media indeed could find little to say, and by the next day, its attention was focussed on the next victims of the intifada.

At his funeral, there were no cameras and no demonstrators calling for vengeance, either. According to custom in such cases, the phrase, HaShem Yikom Domo, "May G-d avenge his blood," is appended to the name of the martyr. Vengeance is the A-lmighty's business, not ours. This, in stark contrast to the Palestinian funerals, which are routinely exploited to whip up the masses, where cries of "death to the Jews" form the main eulogy. Instead, the family and friends of Avadian marked his departure from this world in the traditional Jewish way---by remembering how he lived his life and drawing lessons from it for how to live theirs. And on this there was much to be said. For Aharon Avadian was an exemplary individual, whose life was replete with Torah and good deeds.

What is best-known was his participation in the regional Hatzalah unit. He was one of the hundreds of religious Jews throughout Israel who give of their time and energy on a voluntary basis to the saving of lives. Since he worked as a kashrut supervisor in a factory located near Arab villages, he often responded to calls in that area. More than one of the local Arab residents owes his life today to Aharon Avadian's skilled and helping hands. When cautioned by friends about the risk he was taking in going into Arab areas, he replied, "But aren't they also human beings? If I can help, how can I stay back?"

Indeed, he was known to one and all as a ba'al chesed, a person whose life was one long chain of acts of kindness. Always it was done with a quiet grace, never seeking to attract attention to himself. Whether it involved taking care of a sick parent, or gathering and disseminating food for the poor, or giving rides to people, or helping to build up the local synagogue, or just picking up a bag of cucumbers for a neighbor, he went about it with the same unassuming joy in helping others.

It is no wonder, then, that when Aharon Avadian was buried late, the night following his murder, the streets of our neighborhood in Zichron Yaakov were choked with the traffic of mourning, as hundreds of people came out to accompany him to his final resting place. And during the shivah, literally thousands came from all over the country to join in the impossible task of trying to comfort the widow and the orphans. Their apartment was far too small to accomodate the daily throng, and so the entrance area of their building was turned into a makeshift synagogue. The voice of prayer and Torah filled the air for seven days. Our memories of him have filled our minds long after.

One of the rabbis who eulogized him spoke of his relationship with Avadian over the years. Avadian was a ba'al teshuvah, and the rabbi had played an important part in guiding him through a slow and sometimes difficult transition. He would not commit himself until he was sure that it was right, and that he was ready. The rabbi, a renowned Torah scholar and lecturer, related that he would stand up for Aharon Avadian when he entered the room, despite the latter's protests. He explained that although Aharon's scholarly attainments could not compare to his, true accomplishment in this world is not judged by how much you know or do, but by how much you overcome and grow to your potential. "Considering where he came from, and where I came from, I was the one who had to stand up in honor of him, and not the other way around."

For me, one image of Aharon Avadian will stand out in my mind forever. Every Shabbos morning I could see him walking home from synagogue with his teenage sons, their arms slung affectionately around his shoulders. I would watch them from behind, as they passed below my window. That is how I shall remember him, disappearing down the street and into another world. A world where acts of love and kindness are the news that dominate the headlines day after day. A world where they stand up for the likes of Aharon Avadian. Hashem Yikom Domo.

Anyone wishing to donate money to assist Mrs. Avadian and her four children may send to: Rafi Menat, 827/10 Ramat Tsvi, Zichron Yaakov. Do not send cash, only checks payable to Irit Avadian, with two lines marked above the payee ("cross"), and marked lamutav bilevad.

Yisrael Rutman writes on Jewish matters for various publications.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.