Posted in Rabbi Marchuck's Blog, on August 28, 2014

For Elul: Stop, Think and Rewind

“Today is a New Day, but this is not my time to go, grace has brought us another day but if tomorrow were to bring my turn; What would I leave unsaid? What would I leave undone? What would I leave behind?”

These are wise words written by David Menachem Gordon, on his blog, almost a year ago to date. An NCSYer from the Central East Region, David exemplified what it means to make every day count and live life to the fullest.

David with friend at Central East NCSY Shabbaton 2010 and David in Israel

David with friend at Central East NCSY Shabbaton 2010 and David in Israel

David, 21, was a member of the prestigious Givati Brigade in the IDF. When Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, David knew the country needed him. He packed up his bags in Ohio and moved, by himself, to Jerusalem. He was an activist, and he fought with all his heart for Eretz Yisroel. On August 17, 2014, David went missing from his army base. An avid search began for this brave soldier. With the worst thoughts in our minds but greatest hopes in our hearts, the worst was proven to be true just two days after David went missing. He was found dead on August 19, not far from his Tzrifin base in Rishon L’tzion.

Perek Hay, Pasuk Tet in Shemot says: “Let the labor fall heavy upon the men and let them work at it, and let them not talk about false matters.” The Mesilot Yesharim explains in this pasuk that Pharoah gave the Jewish people heavy work because he did not want them to have time to reflect on their current life situation. That would have given them time to realize how awful their lives were, and this would have given them the ability to change their reality. This is the idea in the month of Elul. The Yetzer Harah (the evil inclination) tries to bombard us with distractions so that it is much more difficult to make changes within ourselves.

David Menachem Gordon defied the Yetzer Harah by stepping up and being involved in an action. He helped the Jewish people in a great time of need, and during the month of Elul especially, we can all learn from David’s example.

David was beloved. He was a true Central East NCSY’er through and through. I am told that David also asked himself ‘how can I spread more happiness to others’, while still asking himself the same question. All of these characteristics of David Menachem Gordon teach us all a great lesson: “Make every day count for yourself.” This motto are words to live by, for no one knows what the future holds.

Although it is so very clear that David was taken from this world far too soon, his memory should be a reminder to each of us to, defy our Yezter Harah, and actualize the potential within ourselves. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of David Menachem Gordon at this difficult time. As a member of the NCSY Alumni community, we have lost a part of our family too. David may be gone from this world, but he is certainly not forgotten.

May his memory be a blessing, and a zechut for the speedy coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days.

-Rabbi Yehoshua Marchuck