And Remember Them

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Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Sultan Yaacov of the First Lebanon War. Thirty-seven years have passed since then, but this is the first anniversary in which Zecharia Baumel's family has a grave to go up to, after his body was returned. And this is what educator Rabbi Elad Brand wrote to me:
"During this time, in the Yeshiva High School of Kibbutz Sha'alvim, more than one hundred students studied for the sake of the iluy neshamah of Zecharia. They all celebrated the siyum (finishing) of a tractate, in a festive communal evening. Zecharia's story was studied in all the classrooms and touched their hearts. The fact that his body was found after all these years together with his Tzitzit, encouraged every student to adhere more strongly to this mitzvah, and we also printed shirts for everyone at the end of the project, in his memory. The emotional evening was held not just in proximity to the day that he fell, and not just close to summer vacation, but also in the week in which we read in the Torah, the Shlach Portion, in which the mitzvah of Tzitzit is mentioned for the first time. And this is what we read on Shabbat morning: 'Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them throughout their generations fringes in the corners of their garments, and that they put with the fringe of each corner a thread of blue. And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them.' That is, the Tzitzit is not just 'another mitzvah'. It is supposed to be a constant reminder to all of our mitzvot and values. There are commentators who explain that after the sin of the spies - we were given the mitzvah of Tzitzit, so that we should not get confused like the spies, and forget what our mission is. The students went out for their summer vacation while they felt a connection to Zecharia's story, to studying Torah and to the mitzvah of Tzitzit, with the hope that these values will accompany all of us also during summer vacation."
In his memory.

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