Today was the 7th yahrzeit of Rabbi Dr. David Appelbaum and his daughter Nava. They were killed in a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem the night before Nava's wedding. Reb David was a highly accomplished individual. I am not qualified to address the greatness of Reb David, but besides for being a physician who revolutionized emergency medicine in Israel and a talmid chacham (see the obituary in The Lancet), he had many - like dozens and dozens - other talents and skills. One of them was coming once a week, every week, to learn with his sons in yeshiva.
This week's parsha, Ki Tavo, begins with laws about Bikkurim. In Makos (18b) there is a machlokes tanaim if the main part of bikkurim is placing them in front of the mizbe'ach, or is the main part when the kohen takes the hand of the bringer and they wave the basket together.
Sometimes in life we have to do things ourselves. Just putting the basket down fulfills the mitzvah. But sometimes we cannot do things alone. Sometimes we must be a member of a group to accomplish things, like the waving which could only be while the bringer and the kohen hold the basket.
In life, Dr. Applebaum inspired thousands of people by the way he cared for and about people. His murder incited outrage.
Seven years later, the pain has not diminished. There are many projects that are left unfinished because Reb David is no longer with us. What remains with me is that there is no limit to what man can accomplish. Reb Dovid accomplished so much in his short life, but doubtless would have accomplished mush more had he not been stolen from us so soon. The terrorist murderer destroyed so much - a young couple's journey of life together, as well as the many projects that Reb David had in progress (some of which were completed), but others are still in progress, and some are, unfortunately, lost. But the perseverance of Reb David, and his knowledge of when to act alone, when to act as part of a group, when to assemble a team, and when to let someone else take the lead (at Reb David's insistence) was a rare talent indeed.
ה' יקום דמם