How Jews All Across the World are Memorializing Eyal, Gilad and Naftali

“The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.” (Proverbs 10:7)

As the nation mourns the vicious murders of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, the IDF soldiers who were tasked with finding the boys have taken upon themselves to memorialize the youth – every single day.

According to Chabad Online, combat soldiers from the Kfir Brigade’s Levi Battalion, who specialize in counter-terrorism operations in Judea and Samaria, have decided to wrap tefillin (phylacteries) daily in the merit of the souls of the three boys.

The tefillin were donated by the Chabad House in France, which runs the “tefillin for soldiers” project headed by Rabbi Shmuel Azimov and Rabbi Eliyahu Zikri.

In a statement by Chabad, the group said that in the next several weeks it will distribute dozens of additional pairs of tefillin to IDF combat soldiers who wish to fulfill the Biblical commandment in honor of the boys.

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In a second bittersweet incident in honor of the slain youth, a woman who gave birth to triplet boys this week has named each of her sons after the three boys with the addition of a meaningful middle name.

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Aliza Abrahamovitz, a Biblical names expert from Israel365, explained to Breaking Israel News the significance behind the middle names of each of the boys.

“The name Yosef (Joseph) exemplifies someone who recognizes that despite hardships we endure these are all a part of God’s master plan as seen in his comments in the book of Genesis (50:19-20)” she said.

(L-R) Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Gil-ad Shaar, 16.
(L-R) Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Gil-ad Shaar, 16.

“The Hebrew name Chaim means ‘life.’ Throughout the Bible, God explains that He expects man to accomplish certain goals in his life; man should follow the statutes of God, be kind to others and live a life of justice and righteousness,” Abrahamovitz stated.

“The Hebrew name Menachem mean ‘he who comforts.’ Throughout the Bible, prophets foretell of tragedy and destruction. However, these prophecies are often accompanied with prophecies of comfort, describing the redemption, in-gathering of the exiles, and rebuilding of Jerusalem. It is these prophecies which provide the much needed comfort and hope throughout our exile. One who gives the name Menachem is hoping to bring comfort to those around him,” she explained.

Abrahamovitz expanded on the concept behind the importance and symbolism of names: “When you give a child a name of either a relative or Biblical character, your hope is that the energy connected to that person will be imbued into this new life and that he or she will be able to take those qualities and effect positive change in this world.”

The bodies of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were discovered half buried in a field outside Hebron on Monday. The three boys were buried side-by-side in Modiin as thousands of people from all over Israel came to pay their last respects.

At the funeral, Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau eulogized the three boys and stated that their deaths will not be in vain.

“Even if you cut off these three flowers you will never succeed, because there’s a continuation. There’s Gilad, Naftali and Eyal in all the people of Israel and the whole world,” he said.

Turning to God, the Rabbi added, “No one can defeat this people, even in hard moments they stand before You in prayer…They don’t give up on an eternal tradition.”

To learn more about the Biblical significance of your name, click here.