By Rabbi Menachem Kutner, Director, CTVP
Yesterday I visited Otniel, the home of the Mark family whose lives were irreparably shattered by a vicious terror attack on Route 60 last week. I was accompanied by the local Shaliach, Rabbi Yosef Dahan, and his son, Ron, who is the head of the Otniel Community Council.
We began our time there speaking with some of the young people of Otniel. They feel devastated and horrified that their small community has had 11 people killed in terror attacks, some living on the same street as the Mark family. We offered them words of comfort and suggested some of the Rebbe’s ideas to them about gaining strength through good deeds done in memory of those who were murdered.
Then we met Rabbi Miki Mark’s brother-in-law, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Otniel Yeshiva, who reminded us about the horrific terror attack that had taken place in his yeshiva in 2002 in which four young people were murdered.
Then we walked into the Mark family home and sat down with them, our hearts aching for these beautiful children who had lost their father, whose mother and two siblings were wounded. As we sat and talked together, they told us that their father’s family was related to the Rebbe and that Rabbi Mark had been studying the Rebbe’s teachings.
We gave them a large check to help them through this terribly, terribly difficult time. They were deeply grateful and told us how Rabbi Miki, as he is often referred to, would always give any amount of money he could to help others.
Shlomi, Rabbi Mark’s oldest son, told us that he is married to a young woman whose family was also devastated by terror. The Mark family had embraced her family after the attack and ultimately he married her.
Then we learned something chilling.
Rabbi Mark’s brother had gone to pay a shiva call to the family of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffe Ariel, who had been murdered in her sleep in Kiryat Arba. Hallel’s father, Amichai, was an old and dear friend of Rabbi Mark’s brother who came immediately after the funeral to be with him.
When he was there, Amichai Ariel gave him a bottle of wine from his winery. Rabbi Mark’s brother said he was not knowledgeable about wines but would take it to his brother, Miki, for the following Shabbos, when they would be together, because he was very interested in and well-informed about wines and would appreciate it.
His brother, Rabbi Miki, was murdered the next day and Amichai then came to pay a shiva call to Rabbi Miki’s brother. The two families are inextricably linked through the pain they have suffered. We pray that peace will come to Israel and the world very soon. Shabbat Shalom.