Among the 45 people who died during the Lag BaOmer celebration on Mount Meron last week was 65-years-old Rabbi Moshe Tzarfati, who acted as a spiritual mentor and a father figure for many IDF soldiers.
For years, Tzarfati served as an officer in the IDF, where he later also volunteered as part of the Netzach Yehuda organization to aid ultra-Orthodox youths who chose to enlist in the IDF. He is survived by his wife, four children and 25 grandchildren.
Hundreds accompanied Tzarfati on his final journey to the Sanhedria Cemetery in Jerusalem Sunday.
“He was a great, strong man, both physically and spiritually,” said the graduates of the Netzach Yehuda battalion, where Tzarfati volunteered.
"He accompanied soldiers for several years,” his son Shai added.” He worked for the Netzach Yehuda organization and served as their rabbi.”
“He loved volunteering, he loved soldiers, he loved life. He was a young man in a 60-year-old's body."
Oshri, a friend of Tzarfati's from Jerusalem, told of a man filled with happiness who sought to spread joy wherever he went.
"Rabbi Moshe had a golden heart and loved Israel dearly," he said. “He would always make people dance, always seeking to bring joy, always filled with love for each and every person.”
Joseph Singer, who enlisted in the Netzach Yehuda battalion in 2005, remembers Rabbi Tzarfati well.
“He was a father figure. He would come and breathe life into the soldiers who were under stress. Good words, food, attention. Things the soldiers lacked.”
“He would take care of them and give them hope. He would give people air to breathe. Exactly the air he did not have in the terrible disaster,” Singer added.
Kobi, who enlisted in 2006, remembers how Tzarfati used to visit the battalion regularly.
"He would talk to the soldiers, bring refreshments. He and other rabbis from the organization accompanied the soldiers and gave them lessons. He sought to encourae us all."