Rabbis, politicians and family members alike could not hold back the tears and
pain Wednesday morning at the funeral of Rabbi Yonatan Sandler, 30, his two
young sons Aryeh, six, and Gavriel, three, and eight-year-old Miriam
“Enough, God, enough of this pain,” cried out Miriam’s brother
Avishai in his eulogy.
that Jewish life can exist anywhere in the world
Miriam, I am not worried about you
but, from where you are today
I will ask you for one last request
I have not asked for many things before
pray, shed tears, and do not stop
So that the Almighty will give strength to mom and dad
to pass this, the hardest experience there is
“How long, God? Will you forever ignore me? How
long will you hide your face from me?” he sobbed, quoting from the Book of
Of his sister he made a request: “From the place you are at now
Miriam, pray that God will give strength to Mum and Dad to pass this, the
hardest possible experience that exists.
“Mum and Dad, I have a request
of you as well, from myself, from my brothers and sisters and many
others. Carry on.”
“Carry on,” he said to his parents, “because we
Yonatan’s wife and Miriam’s parents sat in front of the four
, weeping and inconsolable, as the eulogies were given.
mother, Yaffa, was too distraught to walk to the ceremony and had to be carried
to her seat.
Shmuel Sandler, Yonatan’s father, speaking in French, talked
of his son’s courage, how he had built up his life and his happiness with his
wife and three children.
“Yonatan surprised us every day with the
articles he wrote and with the depth of his thought,” he recalled. “But my wife
and I remember the long evenings we spent teaching him multiplication tables
with smiles on our faces.”
Shmuel Sandler described how he and his wife
were the envy of their friends for having such unique
“Aryeh, I see you running when we landed at the airport
full of goodness and the happiness of life,” he said of his six-year-old
“Every night [of our visit] we heard him praying before going
to sleep, asking, ‘Please God watch over my parents and everyone I love.’”
Gavriel was a special boy, and his smile never left his face, his grandfather
said of the three-year-old.
“My nickname for him was Mister Cola and he
called me Grandpa Coffee.”
The last time Shmuel saw them all was in
Toulouse, he continued. “Now the three of you and Miriam are united together and
leave us for a better world.”
“Yonatan’s soul now resides with you,” he
said turning to Yonatan’s pregnant wife, Eva.
“God gives and God takes
away,” he concluded.
Numerous dignitaries attended the funeral, including
Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin,
Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Religious Services
Minister Ya’acov Margi and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé.
broke down in tears as he addressed the mourners.
“Oh what has befallen
us,” he wept. “Children studying at school, through whom the world continues to
exist, we now come to accompany them. For who should we cry out? For the boys,
for their father, for the little girl? We will pray for salvation from
“But our enemies should not think that we cry and that we mourn
from weakness, God forbid,” Amar continued.
“We weep, but we are strong,
and we are steadfast in our faith.”
Israel trusts God and does not
despair, he said, declaring that the Jewish people would continue to study and
teach Torah, and to live a Jewish life wherever they are in the
“Our enemies will not succeed in breaking us; we will stand up and
continue onwards. This is the commandment from these martyrs.”
also addressed the mourners, telling them that the hearts of the Jewish people
are with them.
“The People of Israel are crying,” he told them. “Our
hearts are with you, and with the Jews of France and with the Ozar Hatorah
school that has suffered such a terrible and painful blow.”
The pain is
inconceivable, Yishai continued, and the heart cries out. “God is testing us,
but our belief in his divine guiding hand will not wipe clean the hands of these
despicable murderers because there is justice and there is a judge,” he
Rivlin, who was the first dignitary to give a eulogy, spoke
fervently of the unity of the Jewish people, and of the shared pain that he said
has now engulfed it. “The whole House of Israel stands here today, Jews of every
kind stand here with us with deep pain in their hearts and tears in their eyes,”
“Again we stand before small, silent bodies, before small
graves. As in Itamar and Sderot, as in the Chabad House in Bombay and in
Argentina, in Yeshivat Merkaz Harav in Jerusalem and this time in Ozar Hatorah
in Toulouse, the Jewish people face wild and insatiable animals, wild animals
turned mad by their hatred,” Rivlin declared, referencing recent attacks on Jews
inside and outside of Israel.
“We face murderers who do not distinguish
between the Orthodox or secular; between settlers or those on the Left; a Jew in
Israel or a Jew in the Diaspora. In their murderous deeds they do not
distinguish between Sephardi or Ashkenazi, a hassid or a Litvak. They know well
that we are brothers.
“They know where to hurt us... they target our most
holy values... Jewish education, the passing on of our traditions from
generation to generation...
This is pure evil, refined hatred for the
people of Israel, but we will not allow them to subjugate us or to extinguish
the flame of education and tradition.
“The people of Israel will continue
to embrace its heritage, through faith, with pride, and with Jewish strength.”