The Eshet Chayil of Matan HY”D

The Eshet Chayil of Matan HY”D
This Shabbat, for the first time, I visited the “Heroism Tent” next to Israel’s Supreme Court. Family members of fallen soldiers come to this tent to share the stories of their lost loved ones.
At the tent today, I had the privilege of meeting the parents of 31-year-old Matan Demari HY”D, who was killed in Gaza past December, leaving his wife, Eden, a widow and his 2 young children, Ido and Noa, orphans.
The father, who came from Eilat with his wife for Shabbat, spoke of his son’s goodness, his gentle nature, his devotion to his family, how at the end of the day, after working 3 teaching jobs to support his family, Matan would come home to his wife and kids and hang the laundry and whatever else needed to get done and then he would go out again to sit with people in difficult situations who needed advice and a listening ear until early in the morning. “My son never rested. I don’t know how he managed to do all the things he did. I guess Hashem knew his time in this world would be short, so he enabled Matan to fit everything he was meant to accomplish into his 31 years.”
Here’s a remarkable story the father shared that I wanted to share with you:
Matan was the only soldier in his unit who wore a kippah. Their first Shabbat together during the war, Matan recited kiddush for his unit and then he began to sing Eshet Chayil, as a tribute to his wife and all the wives holding down the homefront while their husbands were away in the army. The secular soldiers, who weren’t familiar with the song, grumbled, “Hey Matan, we’re hungry! Enough prayers already! Let’s eat!”
But Matan proceeded to sing Eshet Chayil so beautifully, and explained the meaning of the song to the other soldiers with such sensitivity, that the next Shabbat, after kiddush, the soldiers called out, “Hey Matan, please sing the song for our wives again! They are the real heroes of this war!”
Several months after Matan was killed, a fellow soldier contacted his father, “I wanted to tell you that I am a secular Jew. I don’t keep Shabbat. But every week, no matter how late I come home on Friday night, I make kiddush for my wife and sing her Eshet Chayil. Just like Matan.”
May his memory be a blessing and a comfort to Matan’s grieving family.
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