The Yahrzeit of Hallel Yaffa Ariel HY”D and Me

The Yahrzeit of Hallel Yaffa Ariel HY”D and Me

Today was the yahrzeit of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel, who was brutally murdered while asleep in her bed 3 years ago by a Palestinian terrorist.
I didn’t know that today was the yahrzeit until I looked at the news. But I should have…
Something bizarre, otherworldly has been going on all week. And I didn’t understand why, until I saw that today was the yahrzeit.
Let me explain…
I’ve known Tziporah Piltz, Hallel Yaffa’s aunt, for around 20 years. She was my husband’s colleague at Nishmat for many years and both of us attended her wedding held beside the steps leading down to the Western Wall. Over the years, Tziporah has become a well-known activist and educator who lectures to women and girls about the Temple and lives with her husband and 10 children at the entrance to the Mt. of Olives cemetery, overlooking the Temple Mount.
She’s the kind of person I’m friendly with but only run into once every year or two. On those rare occasions, I have a conversation about her work and my blog for a few minutes. And that’s that.
But this week, out of the blue, Tziporah Piltz was a central figure in my life.
It all started on Sunday when I attended my daughter’s 8th-grade graduation. I sat down in the auditorium, and who was sitting two seats over from me? Tziporah Piltz.
I told Tziporah that I had seen her beautiful new book, Pirkei Hallel: A Shared Journey for Bat Mitzvah Girls and Their Mothers which Tziporah had written together with her sister, Rena Ariel, in memory of Rena’s daughter, Hallel Yaffa HY”D. Tziporah told me that the book had recently been translated into and published in English.

From the left, sisters Tziporah Piltz and Rena Ariel

“Wow,” I told her, “I would love to post something about this book on!”
So on Tuesday, Tziporah Emailed me the book.
And yesterday, Wednesday, I skimmed through it and was moved to tears by Rena Ariel’s reflections on her daughter and her own grief and her desire to fill the world with good deeds in Hallel’s memory.
And then Wednesday afternoon I got a call from a father I know, asking whether I would recommend a certain teacher at our daughters’ school. I told him that none of my daughters had studied with that teacher, but Tziporah Piltz’s daughter had. And I gave him Tziporah’s phone number.
And then that same night my husband called the director of a program my daughter, Hallel, is interested in participating in next year. Afterward, he told me that it turned out that this director had been his student many years ago at Nishmat. Oh, and by the way, she had been Tziporah Piltz’s learning partner.
At that point, I couldn’t help but notice a pattern. “It’s so strange, this entire week Tziporah Piltz has come up so many times!”
But I didn’t understand why, until I saw the news today, and realized that last night and today were Hallel Yaffa’s yahrzeit.
And I called Tziporah right away, and told her about everything that had been happening, and that I would be writing a post about the book written in Hallel’s honor TODAY since it seemed that that was what Hashem (and Hallel Yaffa?) had been pushing me to do all week.
Rabbi Fischel Schachter was once talking about how in Israeli apartment buildings, you click on a button in the hallway in order to get about 30 seconds of light until you are plunged once again into darkness. And that is, he explained, what life is like too. We have a moment of clarity, of faith, a clear view of Hashem’s hand in our life until we are plunged into darkness again: lack of clarity, cynicism, doubt. And this week, I guess, was one of those 30 seconds of light for me. And I hope, maybe, that now that I’ve shared the story, for all of us)
May it provide an aliya for the holy neshama of Hallel Yaffa Ariel HY”D.



  2. Shira Schreier

    Here is a link for more information about the book “Pirkei Hallel: A Shared Journey for Bat Mitzva Girls and Their Mothers” in memory of Hallel Yaffa Ariel Hy”d and how to order:
    The original book in Hebrew is also available.
    Cost is 80 shekel for the Hebrew book and 90 shekel for the English book.

  3. JewishMom

    Another bizarre postscript to this story, this past Friday, the day after the yahrzeit, my daughter hallel was wearing a t-shirt I haven’t seen her wear in a long time. And then I noticed she had chosen to wear the t-shirt that she bought after Hallel Yaffa was murdered, that were being sold 3 years ago with Hallel Yaffa’s name, in her memory. When I told Hallel about the bizarre chain of events and Hallel Yaffa’s yahrzeit, she also couldn’t figure out what had made her wear this t-shirt for the first time in maybe a year or more.

  4. You might be interested in the review my daughter and I did last year of the Hebrew edition. I asked my daughter to participate in the review since she was the target age group. Maybe another connection- my daughter and Tziporah’s daughter have been on the school bus together for the past number of years.

  5. Bs”d.
    Inspiring, thank
    you. I was just dealing this week with a painful issue for me, and with this story I see that the best way to deal with a difficulty is bringing more light. Just like Halel Yaffa’s mother HY’D.

  6. …just like Halel Yaffa’s mother.


    Hi Jenny, I know this post was a long time ago but I just hit upon it. I, of course, remember Tziporah well from NIshmat (from before she was married) and was moved by reading your post and also about the work for the bat mitzvah book. My girls are still a few years away but definitely something to keep in mind. I followed Hallel’s story closely so this was a bit of “full circle” for me. Thanks for sharing. All the best from Yad Binyamin.

Leave a Reply

Follow by Email