Eulogy by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat:

Hagai Lev of blessed memory was born on Simchat Torah and hence given the Hebrew name, which means "My Festivals". "As was his name, so was he", as our Sages teach us. Hagai had an infections smile, he radiated joy and he was the consummate expression of the spirit of Yisrael Sabba (Grandfather Israel) in our generation: totally dedicated to the Torah of Israel, the People of Israel and the Land of Israel, with weapons of war in one hand and volumes of Torah in the other.

But there is yet another way in which Hagai expresses his name. Unlike the Sabbath day which is dedicated to G-d, the Festivals are dedicated to the eternity of the Jewish nation: "You have chosen us from all other nations, you have sanctified us from all other national languages," as we recite in each Festival Amidah. The Festivals are truly a song of praise to the uniqueness of Isarel and to the eternity of Israel, to the message of Israel and to the mission of Israel.

There is however a tragic paradox built into Israel's eternity. When the Almighty came to Abraham, commanding him: "Take you son, your only son, the one whom you love, even Isaac and bring him up to Me as a whole burnt offering", He was in effect teaching our founding Patriarch that only if you are willing to sacrifice your future will you merit a future, that only if you are ready to place your son's life on the line for his G-d and his land will you see children and grandchildren living in the Promised Land and maintaining our traditions. An Individual who lives his life with the single goal of con
tinuing to live is doomed to fail, because each of us must taste his/her mortality some sooner and some later. But an individual who lives his life in the backdrop of an ideal, which is more important than any individual life, participates in eternity and is bound up with his nation, which he enables to live forever.

It is this message which Noa & Shimon imparted to Hagai and which Hagai imbibed with every fiber of his being. It is more than a privilege to be the Rabbi in whose community Hagai flourished; it is a most humbling experience. I stand in awe at the magnificent youth which our difficult, fateful and miraculous generation has produced: young men and women filled with intense dedication to the people of Israel, the Land of Israel and the Torah of Israel who are blessed with the idealism and the courage to place their lives on the line for the eternity of their people. Hagai is an outstanding example of an outstanding generation.

May his memory forever serve as a blessing and may his soul be eternally bound up with the eternity of our people.