Excerpts from the Hespedim for Daniel Perez hy”d

After 163 agonizing days, the Perez family were informed by the IDF that Daniel had been killed on October 7th, Simchat Torah. The burial took place the next day, attended by thousands of people. Here are translated excerpts from some of the hespedim delivered at the funeral.

Rabbi Yosef Zvi Rimon

We are in a difficult, challenging time. For those who were killed, taken captive and injured – we cry and are sad. But within that crying we must always remember that throughout our entire history they have tried to kill us, to murder us, but not once since the churban have we been able to defend ourselves. 

Never was there a pogrom in which Am Yisrael got up and defended itself with glory and strength. We cry, but we are not weak. We’re not pitiful, we’re strong, we’re zoche to live in the generation of redemption. Daniel, may Hashem avenge his blood, did not fall in Auschwitz or in Bergen Belsen. Daniel fell as a hero in the Israel Defense Forces. Daniel fell dressed in bigdei kehunah, the priestly garments and robes of royalty of the uniform of an IDF soldier. 

In the beginning, they didn’t know what happened and supposed that maybe he hid when they shot at him. Rav Doron, his father, told me: “I don’t know what happened, but Daniel did not hide.” And it turns out not only did he not hide, as terrorists were on the border fence he went out under fire in order to save the residents of the Otef (Gaza Envelope). Daniel fell as a hero. 

 

Yonatan Perez

Daniel, my dear brother…

We stood on the roll call plaza of “Bahad Echad” (the IDF Officer School in Mitzpe Ramon) a year apart from each other. On the roll call plaza of Bahad Echad hangs, in large letters, the components of the Israeli officer. The first is responsibility for the mission – the fate of the campaign is in his hands. The second is being worthy of those he commands, responsibility to people. The third is a thorough professional who studies and teaches. The fourth is a daring and brave man of the field, and the fifth is one who possesses fresh, critical, and innovative thinking.

Daniel – on that Simchat Torah, the seventh of October, you understood the responsibility for the mission. You went out with your crew – Tomer, Itai and Matan – without clear orders. You fought at the border as well as in the fields between Gaza and Nachal Oz. You well understood that the success of the campaign was in your hands. You were worthy of those you commanded, and this was clearly and powerfully expressed that morning. You were a thorough professional who nurtured your professionalism, studying even during the weekends when you came home. That morning, we realized how daring and how brave you were. You hit the terrorists at long range and stormed forward into the fields and fought at short range to protect the kibbutzim. During the battle, you thought things through in a levelheaded way. You gave orders over the radio with confidence and professionalism.

 

Chief Rabbi David Lau

We have a wonderful generation – a generation of soldiers, a committed generation, a generation of people who will get up and do anything to protect the nation, to protect the Torah, and to protect the Land. 

There is no contradiction between these three things – they all flow from the same Source: The people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the Land of Israel. 

You immigrated here as a child and stood up to fight for the nation from within Torah, on the day of Simchat Torah. On that day you went out to protect the nation, the land, and to uphold the honor of the State they came to attack, murder in, and wipe out. 

But you and your friends went out with such dedication – together, willingly, to protect the State and to protect our home.

 

Shira Perez

Daniel. For five months we’ve waited to hear what happened to you. We were worried that you were suffering, that you were cold, not eating enough and experiencing unimaginable trauma. 

But when the army came and told us the terrible news, a weight lifted from my heart because I knew that in the last 163 days you were alongside us throughout everything and looking after us. You saw from above the wedding of Galya and Yonatan. You were with me in every talk I gave about you, and you were with us at all times.

Daniel wrote in his diary that after his trip to Poland, he understood why it was so important to serve in the army and protect our homeland. Later on in the same entry, he wrote: “Im lo ani, az mi?” “If not me, then who?” These 5 words will accompany me for the rest of my life, as they accompanied you through the wonderful 22 years that you lived.

Daniel. You entered the heart of everyone who met you. You were an amazing brother, an exemplary friend, commander, soldier and person. You are an inspirational figure for all of the nation of Israel. I love you. We’ll never stop crying, but I promise to keep your memory alive forever. Thank you for the merit of being the sister of a Hero of Israel.

 

Adina Perez

When I heard yesterday that Daniel had been murdered on the 7th, my mother held me in her arms and the first thing she said to me is that he didn’t suffer. And in that moment, despite all the tears, I felt relief and all my worries vanished. 

Daniel, your bravery and courage made you the person you were. Your selflessness and dedication to our country was evident from your actions, and as a result you saved countless Jewish lives. I’m honored to have known such an incredible person. You always strengthened others when they felt weak and always cared for those around you. 

Daniel, you were loved by everyone you encountered and left an everlasting impression upon their lives. I am proud to have you as a brother who never surrendered, served your nation and protected it with all your might. You sacrificed your life to protect us – you were a true soldier and a true hero. I am so, so honored to be your sister. Your time on earth may have ended but you will continue to live in the minds of thousands. You will never truly be gone because a part of you lives on in every one of us. We will celebrate your life because you continue to live within our hearts. Not many have a chance to meet their heroes. I was blessed to have known mine. And I will be forever grateful. I only hope to do the best I can to make you proud. I love you my Dan – watch over us from above.

 

Shelley Perez

Shelley’s words were quoted by Rabbi Doron Perez in his hesped.

So many people did so much for our precious son Daniel over the last five-and-a-half months. We want to sincerely thank you all for the messages of love, care and support, the prayers, Tehillim, communal prayers and hafrashot challah – these incredible mitzvot and so many more literally held us up. 

Our unbelievable Yad Binyamin community, you made sure all our physical needs were met. We received and are still continuing to receive meals, care packages, shopping and so much more amidst all the davening and mitzvot. We deeply appreciate you all lining the streets of Yad Binyamin today, honoring Daniel as we left the yishuv

Our heartfelt appreciation to our families, our parents, our siblings, cousins and extended family – you have enveloped us with so much love and done everything possible in the merit of Daniel. 

To my exceptional group of close friends, the angels who never leave me alone for a minute and see to my every need – I am forever grateful to you all.

 

  • Thanks to David Schlacht for the photos of the funeral.

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