It's been five years since David Applebaum הי"ד and his daughter, Naava הי"ד, were murdered in a פיגוע at Cafe Hillel on Emek Refa'im Street. For me, as for those many whom he touched, it seems like just yesterday. In the intervening years, though, David has been generally remembered as a doctor and humanitarian (which he was), and the person who revolutionized Israeli medicine through the founding of Terem. All of this was, of course, true. It was also insufficient. David was first and foremost a a devoted עבד השם; a Talmid Hakham of the first order; and a Brisker Lamdan, whose soul was in Volozhin. He lived and breathed Torah and thirsted constantly for דבר השם.
His wife Debra ת"מ has now edited and a published a wonderful sefer that will set the record straight for all time. Entitled 'David Avdi' it contains (alongside a biography and some appreciations), a treasure trove of Divrei Torah, Letters and halakhic studies that are stunning for their brilliance, thoroughness, sensitivity and passion. Of special note are the Kol Nidre Drashot he delivered at Ohel Rivka in Kiryat Shmuel. [The halakhic pieces are extraordinary, when you consider the fact they were written בזמן שלא מן היום ולא מן הלילה in places like Gainesville, GA.]
The sefer is a gem. I can't imagine how wrenching it was for Debra to put it together, but this labor of love is something that I will always cherish and should be in the hands (not just the library) of everyone who knew or knew of David.
[I"d like to add a personal note. I want to thank Debra, from the bottom of my heart, for including my remarks in memory of David in the book (along with portions of a reminiscence, in English, that I wrote during the shiva). I have never had a ידיד נפש like him, a חבר hose friendship was a קשר של תורה, and therefore a קשר של קיימא. Though we saw each other infrequently in the years before his murder, when we did see one another, we just picked up where we left off, in Volozhin and Brisk, in Boston and Chicago, in Jerusalem and Efrat.
I have written over thirty academic monographs, dozens of non-scholarly pieces and seven hundred entries on this blog. The book I'm trying to finish already stands at over three hundred pages (typescript). I am proud of (almost) everything I've ever written.
However, these remarks will always mean more to me than almost anything else I have ever (or will ever) write.]