Sunday, August 29, 2004

David Applebaum hy"d- One Year Later

Tonight at Hechal Shlomo there will be an azkara for David Applebaum and his daughter, Naava, HaShem Yiqom Damam. At the time of their murder, everyone heard about the dimensions of the tragedy of their murders (by henchmen of 'poor Sheikh Yassin'): how Naava was to have been married the next day and how David was such a brilliant and dedicated doctor who revolutionized emergency medical care in Israel (despite the best efforts of some-who just couldn't think out of the box- to block him). All of that, of course, is true (and alot more).

Like alot of people, David was my friend, a real yedid nefesh. We met in 1983, when I was living in Yerushalayim on a Lady Davis Fellowship. Our apartment was just down the street from David and Debra. I was a struggling graduate student and David was riding the ambulances for Magen David Adom/ (I think he was regional director.) What we had in common was Toras Brisk. David was a devoted talmid of Reb Ahron Soloveitchik zt"l, actually an adopted member of the family. I had just finished a decade learning under the Rov zt"l. We spoke the same language.

David was a Brisker through and through. His passion for Torah knew absolutely no bounds. His loyalty to the 'amita shel Torah' of Brisk was identical with his neshoma. He embodied the lomdus, hesed, tzni'us, and passion for Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael of his rebbe, Reb Ahron. The papers, in the hands of those less sensitive to these parts of his persona, missed all of this. However, to ignore them is to distort and to lie about him, and Hesped (as the Rov says) demands that we tell the truth. David was devoted to Qedushat HaTorah, Qedushat HaAm and Qedushat HaAretz. He actively fought for all of them.

Furthermore, David was not a doctor who just happened to be a Talmid Hochom. He was a seamless unity. His medical career was an expression of his learning and his devotion to Toras HaShem. As Reb Hayyim used to say, Er iz geven a mahmir in Piqquah Nefesh, and hence he went into Emergence medicine. He wrote extensively on Medicine and Halakha (when? B'zman shelo min haYom ve-lo min ha-Layla). He was a passionate teacher as well. A few years ago, we made a Bat Mitzva for one of my daughters. David couldn't come. Why? It conflicted with the seder he had with his son, who was learning at Kerem b'Yavneh. With David, Torah always came first, last and in the middle.

A friend of mine, a prominent Rosh Yeshiva, once wrote to me that a friendship based on Torah is a 'kesher shel kayyama.' I have never had a friend, a yedid nefesh, like David. A haver, milashon hibbur, and I know I will never see the likes of him again. You could float in and out of each other's lives for awhile, and pick up with the same intensity, intimacy and affection with which you left. There are others, I know, who feel similarly. That was part of David's greatness. The Torah is wider than the sea, and so was his soul, his sense of humor, his sincere caring.

So, tonite I'll go to be with those who so much miss this amazing yedid. Yehi Zikhro Barukh. Havl al de-Avdin ve-lo mishtakhin.

Earlier this year I wrote a longer hesped for David that appeared in HaZofe.
(You need Hebrew ISO-Logical Encoding to read it.)

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