Barak was born on Shavuot morning, 5742 (May 28, 1982), at Tel Hashomer Hospital. He was the eldest son of Eitan, who was then in the IDF as commander of B Company, 51st Battalion, and Margalit, who the previous year had been discharged from the army after serving as an NCO dealing with soldiers' service conditions in 12th Battalion.
Barak was named for the lightning (barak in Hebrew) that accompanied the giving of the Torah on Shavuot, as well as for the nickname by which 12th Battalion was known. He was also given the name Binyamin, after his mother's grandfather, who died a year after making Aliyah to Israel. Barak was also his grandparents' first grandson, and the first great-grandson of Eitan's grandfather and Margalit's grandmother.
For the first two years of his life Barak lived in Ramat Gan and then in Petah Tikva. When he was two, Barak returned with his parents to the kibbutz where his father had grown up - Kvutzat Yavne, where his first sister, Herut, was born. It was there too that he attended his first preschool.
When he was five, Barak moved with his family to the community of Beit Haggai, in the southern Hebron Hills, where they all lived in a cramped but pleasant mobile home. Barak began 1st grade at the elementary school in Kiryat Arba. It was there that the family expanded with the arrival of Amital and Noam. After they all moved to a more spacious home, Elro'i joined the family as well.
When Barak was nine, his father's job in the army led the family to move to Re'ut, where Barak attended 4th and 5th grades at the school in nearby Hashmonaim.
In 1994, the family settled into a new home in Efrat, Gush Etzion, where Barak attended 6th grade at Aseh Chayil State Religious School. For junior high, he went to Yeshivat Sha'alvim, during which time he became bar mitzvah and became a brother again, to a new sister named Hen.
In 9th grade, Barak began studying at the Kiryat Arba yeshiva high school, where he was reunited with some of his friends from earlier grades. In 10th grade, Barak began learning in a class with more intensive Gemara study, according to Rabbi Haim Sabato's method. At the same time, he became a counselor in the Ezra youth movement branch in Efrat.
In 11th grade, Barak was a counselor in the Ariel youth movement in Ramat Mamre, and along with his friends established the "Coffee Patrol" that distributed cake and hot drinks to soldiers on duty at posts in Hebron. It was in that year that Barak and his classmates began the early morning vatikin minyan at the yeshiva. In 12th grade, Barak served as a counselor for the yeshiva's ninth graders.
Throughout his years at the high school yeshiva, Barak received many awards for diligence and excellence in Jewish studies. He also stood out for his contribution to social activity in his class and the yeshiva in general. During this high school period, Barak's younger brothers, Yishai and Nadav, were born.
When he finished school, Barak entered the "Shavei Hevron" Yeshiva in Hebron, where he continued his Jewish studies for another two and a half years. In his second and third years, Barak served as the yeshiva's gabbai, and in effect took responsibility for organizing and managing daily life at the yeshiva.
On December 5, 2002, Barak enlisted in the army and insisted on joining the Golani Brigade. He was assigned to the 51st Battalion and completed basic training as the outstanding recruit. When Barak's company joined the battalion, his platoon leader considered directly appointing Barak as a squad commander, but ultimately he sent Barak to squad commanders course in the first group that the company sent to the course.
Barak returned to the battalion and was made a squad commander for the November 2003 class, from which he went to officer candidate school and returned after the preparation phase. He served a short period as a combat soldier in Rifle Company C, and afterwards was made sergeant of 1st Platoon in the November 2004 class, a position he held until he fell in Gush Katif in late summer 2005.
Throughout his life, Barak combined Torah learning with derech eretz (involvement in the world around him) and gemilut chassadim (acts of lovingkindness). His modesty and humility did not conceal the great love that he accorded his friends, those he led in the army, the kids whom he served as counselor, and his family. Every place he studied, served as a counselor or in the army, he made good and close friends of all stripes and ages. Barak devoted, and sanctified, his life for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel, and in the spirit of the Torah of Israel.
Yehi Zichro Baruch
Letter about Barak