Yael Kolman began writing the eulogy for her son Adiel after she heard he had been stabbed in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, but before she knew he was dead.
On Monday, she stood on the stairwell in front of the synagogue in the Kochav Hashahar settlement in the Binyamin region of the West Bank and read those words out loud.
“Adiel, on the way [to the hospital], in the taxi, I thought of the eulogy even though they had not yet told me you had died. I felt that your energy was gone,” Yael said.
The body of her son, a 32-year-old father of four small children, lay in front of her stretched out on a table and wrapped in a black and white prayer shawl.
She told the hundreds of mourners that stood around the body that she had stayed up until the early hours of the morning, speaking to him in her mind, still struggling to understand what had happened on Sunday evening.
“My dear Adiel. It’s 2 a.m. What am I doing here in Kochav Hashahar with a righteous family that is hosting us in our pain?” Yael said as she read from a prepared text.
“Lately, you had taken to calling me a lot and saying, ‘Imush, what’s going on? Walla, things are not bad with me.”
When her son was born his nickname was “Tachshit,” a jewel, said Yael. “You were our jewel.
We were close to your heart for years but now they have taken your heart. We would have wanted to be with you for longer, we always want those things that are good – it is never enough,” Yael continued. “God gave to us and God took from us. This was your exact time to leave this world.
Adiel, you are now in a world that is totally filled with goodness. You had finished your mission in this world and therefore God plucked you too quickly and too painfully.”
“Finally,” she said to her son, “You will have the time to study in peace.”
Yael spoke of the family who would miss him; his wife Ayelet and his children aged nine, seven, five and two. “Oy, the children,” she screamed.
Yael told the mourners that their family plans to move from sorrow to joy in the next month by holding her daughter’s wedding in Gush Etzion – on the date that Arab armies conquered the Jewish communities there in the 1948 War of Independence.
The family chose this date deliberately, she said, to close the circle of 70 years from destruction to celebration.
“We will not be vanquished,” Yael said.
It was with this same idea in mind that the family decided that “We’re choosing life,” even at her son’s deathbed, Yael said.
“Adiel’s light is influencing us, may it be with us forever,” Yael said.
His sister Yoshiya said she preferred to remember Adiel as the happy person he was when they danced at her wedding or singing Sabbath songs.
“Even when we were with you in the last moments of your life. You were unconscious.
What I remember was you, Adi, the most beloved, not the person in the headlines who died from his wound,” she said.
The two of them were so close, they could have been twins, she said. “There were in-jokes that only we understood.”
“All those who knew you, knew you how good you were.
You chose to be the best father and the best you could be for your family. Your laughter hid a burning soul You were victorious over life,” Yoshiya said.
Prior to the funeral, Yael told Kan news that she had first heard of the attack on the radio but quickly turned off the news because there had been to many such deaths.
It was only a few hours later that her husband entered her room and said: “Something happened, but I can’t tell you what.”
“I said, ‘what do you mean you can’t tell me. Is it Adiel?’ ‘Yes,’ he said. We gathered our things and took a taxi, which drove very quickly.”
A reporter called but assured her he was still alive. It was then that she understood that he was gone, Yael recalled.
Looking back, Yael said she believed that the increased phone calls to the family in the last week of his life was his way of saying goodbye.
Kolman grew up in Moshav Keshet in the Golan Heights. He was killed on Sunday evening as he left his job with the City of David Museum’s excavations and was head towards Jerusalem’s light rail by walking through the Old City. It was the route he took daily to return home.