Mourning Fallen IDF Major Yakir Hexter

Mourning Fallen IDF Major Yakir Hexter

When our firstborn, Hadas, was just a few months old I became friendly with a mother from my neighborhood named Chaya. One Shabbat, we joined Chaya and her husband, Josh, for Shabbat lunch. At that time, Chaya’s firstborn, Yakir, was around 10 months old, which made her, in my eyes, a Very Experienced Mother. I remember getting advice from Chaya on how to get Hadas to sleep better for longer periods of time, like her Yakir started doing when he was the same age as Hadas was.

As our babies grew into toddlers and young children, I would often run into Chaya when she was on her way to drop off or pick up Yakir from gan. Yakir was a very cute boy with blond hair, who would sit quietly in his stroller while Chaya and I chatted.

Eventually Chaya and Josh moved to a different neighborhood. And she sent her 3 sons to a school on the other side of Jerusalem from where I sent my kids. We would run into each other occasionally, at simchas or downtown. But not so often.

And then last year, Hadas mentioned that in her close circle of friends there was a new guy named Yakir. He was new because he was the best friend of the new boyfriend of her best friend. Hadas remarked that Yakir is a really unusual name. I responded that it’s not so unusual, in fact I know of another boy named Yakir. But then we realized that that cute blond Yakir I remember walking hand in hand with his mother on the way to gan had grown up into this impressive young man, a highly intelligent and industrious architecture student, an IDF commander and halachic scholar, a marathon runner with atomic determination and iron-clad discipline.

At 6 AM this morning, my husband woke me up with the sad news…Yakir Hexter had been killed in Gaza. What a tragedy for his family and friends, and a colossal loss for all of Am Yisrael, a young man with such tremendous potential dead at the age of 26.

Today during the funeral at Mt. Herzl, surrounded by hundreds of mourners, his classmates from school and yeshiva, his friends from the IDF, his parents’ friends and neighbors (like me). Listening to the heartbreaking eulogies, I thought of how every fallen soldier, like Yakir, grew up in a family, a school, a community, and, like Yakir, their death leaves a gaping hole in the hearts and lives of those around them. Like a ladder propped up against a wall, until then, without warning, the wall disappears.

Hashem, please comfort grieving parents Chaya and Josh and brothers Ezra and Raphael among the many mourners desperately in need of Your comfort today in Israel.


  1. Amen! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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