Words Spoken at Yohai's Funeral by His Father
July 23, 2002
Yohai, my dear son, you were born with so much intelligence. With much more than any one of us has. And you also knew how to make good use of it. You didn't squander it in vain. From the very first week of your life, you started learning and never stopped. You always enjoyed studying so much!
But Yohai, you were also born blind. You couldn't distinguish between one person and another. You had such difficulty recognizing different people's faces. And it was so hard for you, one whose memory never failed, it was so hard for you to remember faces. And we couldn't understand. For years, adults and children would greet you happily, would say "hello" to you, and you stood astonished, without reacting at all. And we couldn't understand. Sometimes I even wondered if it wasn't your way of insulting someone you disliked. I scolded you and you were astonished by that, too. For so many years we couldn't understand. For so many years we couldn't understand how someone who has such swift comprehension of things finds it so difficult to understand interpersonal relations. You were always confused. You wanted so badly to behave correctly, and it was so hard for you to interpret from other people's behavior how to behave correctly. Only when you were told in so many words and precisely what, when and how you should do things, did you feel safe enough in your conduct. But then you noticed that many others did not act according to the rules that you had learned. And that further confused you, and made you angry.
I was so sad to see you standing confused in a line, pushed and shoved, and how you kept being pushed back, without understanding why. Why don't people simply behave according to the rules they were taught?
And so it was during the few months you served in the army. You wanted so badly to behave correctly. And in the army it should have been easier for you at least from this standpoint. In the army the rules are so cut and dried.
But precisely for this reason you suffered real pain. You were so angry and you even told me that you were going to lose your sanity because you try so hard to behave right, but so many other soldiers and commanders around you were looking for ways to bend the rules, to evade orders and their assignments. You were so confused.
Yohai, since you were born, you were also slow-moving. And again, just as you could learn a long song or a complicated physics formula in one reading, it took you an eternity to button your shirt or lace your shoes. You were so slow that it was natural for you to choose a turtle as your emblem. All during your childhood years, you filled your room with dozens and hundreds of turtle toys of various kinds.
Before your army recruitment I was so apprehensive about how you would handle the rigid army schedules--you, who could only do everything slowly and calmly; who became so tense whenever I rushed you. I even tried to train you to get dressed fast and to put your shoes on fast. But you were well aware of this disability at least. And in the same way that you planned your schedule in your final year of high school when you had to study both for matriculation and university courses, you planned a precise schedule in your military service. Yohai, I was so proud to hear from your commanders how punctual you were and how well you kept to your schedule and they never even knew how difficult it was for you.
Yohai, I can still hear your spontaneous peals of laughter. I'm certain that among those who knew you, just a few have never encountered your brilliant sense of humor. It sufficed for you to hear a joke once for you to suit it to the exact time and exactly the right circumstance. You also loved so much to improvise jokes. In order to laugh, you had no need for other people to be around you. It was enough for you to sit alone in your room, read a joke, or watch a comedy, or even to imagine a comic situation to burst into peals of laughter that could be heard on the other side of the canyon.
My son, we shall always remember how modest and delicate you were. How angry you got whenever we praised you.
Yohai, we knew that you suffered great distress. And you, who wanted so much to behave correctly, you thought that to turn to a military psychology officer was improper conduct. I wanted so much to help you. On your last visit home, I even asked your permission to seek help. And then on the very same day that I thought my prayers were being answered, and good people were going to help me and you, on this very day we received the terrible news. What a pity! May you now at least rest in peace.
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