Hallel and Yagel Yaniv, hy”d.

Brothers in Life, Brothers in Death

On Sunday, February 26, Hallel (21) and Yagel (19) Yaniv were murdered by Arab terrorists as they drove through the town of Huwara, adjacent to their yishuv of Har Bracha. Tal Weisel paid a shiva call to their parents, Esti and Shalom. 

“Those who knew the boys knew that they were different from each other, but they complemented each other,” says Shalom Yaniv, who was bereaved of his two sons, Hallel and Yagel, may their blood be avenged, who were murdered last month in an attack in Huwara. “They did not always agree with one another, but there was something calm and settled about this stage in lives, over the last few years, as each one came to the end of their maturation process and found the right places for themselves, one in Yeshivat Kiryat Shemonah and one in Yeshivat Givat Olga.

“The truth is, we had a lot of nachat, not because everything went smoothly, but because everyone was in a place that was good for them. Last Shabbat, as Esti said, we had a kind of Shabbat Preidah, a goodbye Shabbat. We were lucky that there was a Shabbat bar mitzvah in the family, and we went.”

“There was an event on Friday,” Shalom says, and makes an effort to show the last family photo and pass it among the comforters. “To their credit, they usually refused to be photographed, but for some reason everyone agreed this time. When I received the magnet from the bar mitzvah, I said ‘wow, this is really a beautiful picture. Two shining children, כְּזֹהַר הָרָקִיעַ מַזְהִירִים, shining like the brightness of the firmament.’”

The truth is, nothing at the Yaniv family shiva house should have surprised me. Not the glowing countenance of Esti, not the warm atmosphere, not the genuine and candid conversations, nor the pure and complete faith that was evidently present between the comforting words and hugs. From all the photos, obituaries, statements, and images that were circulated to the public the day before Hallel and Yagel’s funeral it was apparent that this family is a special one – one whose faith flows in their veins and whose consistent kindness and altruistic concern for others had made them public figures.

And yet the chessed, pervading every corner of the house, did not need to be spoken in order to be understood. Yigal’s room is littered with numerous tools that belong to the tool gemach he ran, while the yard of the house is home to boxes filled with costumes from the costume gemach that Esti meticulously maintains every year. And despite the heavy mourning, sorrow and loss, Esti and Shalom made it a priority to put the comforters who came to visit them at ease…

“I am full of gratitude towards the Master of the world,” Shalom concluded in a hoarse voice. “Thank you for entrusting us with these two treasures. We took joy in them, we take joy in them, we will take joy in them. We will take all the good things they did, and all of their idealism and good character traits, and we will do everything we can to bring good to the entire nation.”

● Originally published in Hebrew in Olam Katan.

© 2024 World Mizrachi

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