Yesterday, we lost a brother in arms.  A friend. A fellow Oleh, who like me, moved to Israel from the Western Hemisphere in order to fulfill a 2000 year old prophecy. A brother who in commanders course in the IDF, during the hardest week any of us ever experienced in training, carried a pack twice his size and probably equal his weight for a week straight. I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it myself.   He never stopped smiling. He never stopped laughing.

Though he was short in stature, he had the biggest, sweetest soul. I lost a brother that made me laugh every time he extended his pronunciation of the “R” in my name, poking at my American accent, because he could never get rid of that purr like rolling “R” that gave him that Latin charm. I lost a brother who shocked me every time he hopped the wall during our training exercises, all 5 feet and change of him, while I struggled. I lost a brother whose smile and squeaky loud laugh was so contagious I would try not to look at him when we were standing at attention. I lost a brother who could have left the army a long time ago and study whatever he wanted but decided to stay and go to Officers course and become a Company Commander in the IDF.

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The truth is, I’m more confused than angry regarding the circumstances surrounding his death. It was a careless mistake. Someone shot a mortar the wrong way. However, I feel bad for the kid that screwed up. He must be broken. I can only imagine what Ishai would do if he was that soldier’s commander. How he would take him aside, talk to him about how important his job is and how he needs to keep his focus, give him a big hug, and tell him to never stop smiling.

I feel unqualified to express myself on this platform. I don’t want people to comment “I’m sorry for your loss.” That makes me uncomfortable. But his story needs to be shared. You couldn’t help but root for the guy.

A true underdog, Ishai Rosales will be missed dearly by all those close to him. The stories are endless.

The funeral for 1st Lt. Ishai Rosales Z’L, will be held at 1:00 AM at Har Herzl. His family has invited all of Am Yisrael to attend.




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