With tears streaming down his face, his father, Rabbi Ohad Teharlev, delivered a eulogy for his son in the presence of hundreds, including Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett.
“Elchai, Elchai, I remember your Brit Milah (circumcision), you wouldn’t (stay still). You had all the strength and you had to be held tight. You were a dear son, with a thirst for God and everything life had to offer. To melodies, and psalms... You had the soul of an artist,” he said.
“You were everything Elchai. You looked for a life in everything,” he continued, struggling to utter each word. “You had so much strength and desire. You were a boy with a generous heart. You had such a big heart. When you were young you grabbed candies (during a Bar-Mitzvah) in the synagogue and divided them between the children who didn’t catch them.
“You were happy with your lot. You burst out light and life. You had a smile that filled hearts. Your magic grace never left anyone without a smile.”
Elchai’s mother, Avital, also delivered an emotional eulogy. “Our love, just a month short of 21 years ago, we received a gift—the magic of a boy who had a real soul—and now we are forced to return this gift,” she began.
“It is hard to digest the terrible, incomprehensible news that you are not with us. Your glowing look and your presence made the world a better place, a happier place. I thank God for the privilege and pleasure of being your mother," she went on.
Avital also listed the hobbies and talents with which she said her son was endowed, including music, writing, drawing and learning. “Your death is a huge loss, for the family, friends, the community, the army, for the people of Israel and for the world,” she lamented.
“Your pure heart touched everyone who knew you. I want to thank you for all the gifts you gave us during your time here, and I pray that we will succeed in continuing to preserve your unique spirit, even when your body is no longer with us. My boy, you have left us with a big challenge," she concluded.
(Translated and edited by Alexander J. Apfel)