Friday, April 04, 2008


Dedicated to the memory of Avraham David Moses (16), Ro'i Roth (18), Neria Cohen (15), Yonatan Yitzhak Eldar (16); Bottom row: Yochai Lifshitz (18), Segev Peniel Avihail (15), Yehonadav Haim Hirschfeld (19), and Doron Meherete (26).
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Doron Meherete was one of the eight Yeshiva students that were massacred a couple weeks ago in Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Anyone who paid a shiva (condolence) call to Doron's family in Ashdod would have witnessed a phenomenon: every single type of Jew was sitting together, from Ethiopians to Polish Chassidim, from knit kippot to Yerushalmi white kippot, from jeans and sandals to long black frocks. Too bad that it takes a martyr of Doron's magnitude to unite everyone.

Doron’s personal story should be retold in every Jewish home.

Doron wanted to learn Torah in Mercaz HaRav, one of the best of Israel's yeshivas. But, since his early schooling was in Ethiopia, he lacked a strong background in Talmud and the Yeshiva denied him admission.

He wasn't discouraged.

He asked for a job washing dishes in the dining hall, and was accepted.

For a year and a half, Doron washed dishes. But he spent every spare minute in the study hall. Every day, he would ask one of the students what they were learning, and then spend most of the night and all of Shabbat with his head in the Talmud, learning what they learned.

One day, Doron the dishwasher asked the Rosh Yeshiva to test him. The Rosh Yeshiva politely smiled and tried to gently dismiss him, but Doron wouldn't budge. He forced the Rosh Yeshiva into a Torah discussion.

The next day, Doron the dishwasher had become Doron the "yeshiva bachur".

He reminds one of the great Hillel (whose sandwich we eat at the Passover seder), who couldn’t afford tuition to the yeshiva so he climbed up on the roof to listen to the lectures through the skylight, rain or shine (or snow!).

Like Hillel, the promotion did not diminish Doron’s zeal. On weekends, when he visited his family in Ashdod, he would spend the entire Shabbat either in the Melitzer Shul or the neighboring Gerrer shtiebel learning Shulchan Aruch (basically, it’s a re-write of the entire Talmud). Just two weeks before being gunned down, he finished the entire Shulchan Aruch and main commentaries.

Through discipline and hard work, Doron had achieved in his twenty-six years what most don't attain in a lifetime.

His life, like his death, was dedicated to the Jewish People.

Rabbi Lazer Brody commented, “The next time you want to close a book to switch on the TV, think of Doron. The next time a child doesn't want to do their homework, tell them about the price that tzaddikim like Hillel the Elder and Doron Meherete paid to learn Torah. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Doron wasn't a reincarnation of Hillel. May his holy soul beg mercy for the grieving nation he left behind.”

Shabbat Shalom

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