The following eulogy was given over Maia Dee Hy”d by Naama Frankel, Rosh Midrasha of Midreshet Lindenbaum-Lod, at the funeral of Maia and her sister Rina Dee Hy”d
I know you’re up there, explaining to the Creator with your polite smile that this is all a mistake… that you aren’t supposed to be there. This actually has nothing to do with you. A terror attack?!
You must be looking down and telling Him with your shy grin and small laugh that, well… it’s a bit embarrassing, but you have FOMO. There are still a million things you have to do… You’re supposed to study, create, help, get married… we laughed that that was why you were going to Yerucham to perform your National Service. To be a beautiful, shining bride who dances and goes wild.
You’re supposed to raise a family to be proud of, the kind of Zionist family that you grew up in, full of love. The kind of family that enables every child to go where is right for them, that is always loving and supportive.
Your sister Rina’s hand is entwined in yours. Of course, you would never leave her alone… you are together and an entourage from up above is looking at you with wonder. And you don’t understand.
You turn back a moment in disbelief. Sacks of goodness are brought in. You wonder how is all this goodness related to you? Rows and rows of goodness.
Daily prayers you wouldn’t miss even during National Service when time was tight in the morning. You wrote an article about it last year, “These are things I studied and learned for myself so I could be careful with my prayers, I hope you will also find them useful next year, and may we all have a positive service and meaningful, orderly prayers.”
Hours and hours of Torah study, and Siyum Masechtot [completion of the Talmudic tractates] Ta’anit, Megilah, Mo’ed Katan, Chagiga, Beitza.
You finished Torah and Nevi’im [the Prophets] and you loved it so much. You wrote me, “My learning made the Tanakh part of me!”
You also completed The Lonely Man of Faith, and you studied Shmirat Halashon every day. Standing there are all the lessons you thirstily drank in, with bright, curious blue eyes full of thoughts and questions. And you always summarized and shared.
Standing there is your conviction in God’s work.
And next to it stand your dedication and perseverance. Because there was not one thing that you took upon yourself and didn’t finish – you always did everything with complete conscientiousness. There is no such thing as stopping halfway, and you’re trying to tell that to God – that you’re still in the middle and you can’t leave the world broken like this…
Hours of chevruta [paired] study are brought in. You had a chevruta with each one of your fellow students, a chevruta that you would never cancel!
Lod – the “City of the Tanaim [the rabbinic sages recorded in the Mishna] enters next. The city of Lod salutes you for all the good that you heaped upon it. It so much needs your goodness…
Your chevruta with a sweet local girl, a workshop for Bat Mitzva girls in the city in which you immersed yourself completely, the children you helped in the after-school framework, the house you cleaned, the packages you packed, all the good that you heaped on the city so hungry for it.
You wrote me in a good-bye letter that, “I felt that even when I gave of myself to chevrutas in the city, to the after-school framework and all the volunteering, that I received so much more from them. It added so much that we weren’t studying just for ourselves, but that we went out to the city and spread the goodness, the Torah and the light!”
You were involved in everything, enjoyed everything, volunteered on every committee.
You managed so much, my dear Maia’leh… you did everything with such joy that we never for a moment thought you were in a race against time. And you always took care to uplift us all with a smile and your incredibly honest speech. To be precise. To lift up. You are the epitome of a normal yet holy person. In your emotional health, in your joy… you were a pure and good person who walked amongst us.
Beloved Dee family. Thank you for giving us the privilege of such a Maia whose manner reflects the kind of home in which she was privileged to be raised. We wish Lucy health and recovery, and offer our embrace to you all, we are with you, a close family.
And for you our beloved students, and for the huge population that needs comfort, we will try to draw strength from your words, Maia, when you wrote a commentary on the Passover Haggada a year ago.
You asked, why does Hillel the Elder wrap the matza, which symbolizes hope, with the bitter herbs, which symbolize evil and the Diaspora?
“This view of good and evil is imprecise, and our understanding of reality is limited. While the Beit Mikdash stood, everyone who entered it would undoubtedly understand that all the evil they encountered in their lives was actually a great blessing, and everyone could rejoice in the evil just as they rejoiced in the good.
“Today, when the Beit Mikdash is destroyed, we cannot reach these levels of feeling and understanding, it is impossible for us to rejoice in what is difficult and sad to the same extent that we rejoice in what is good and comprehensible. Halakha even determined different blessings for different events. One says, “Hatov v’Hameitiv” on hearing good news, and “Baruch Dayan Ha’emet” when hearing news that is not good.
“Despite the difficulty, we can take comfort from the memory that in the past there was no distinction between good and evil, and so it will be in the future, as well.”
Those are your words, Maia’leh.
Rabbi Akiva of Lod – whose life you so loved to study – taught us that redemption forms in the depths of tragedy. We cannot see it now because our eyes are full of tears, but we know it deep in our hearts.
Maia’leh, do us a favor…
When you want something, you know how to persist in the best possible sense of the word.
So do us a favor.
Go up to God every five minutes, as only you know to do – politely, with a smile, with humor, but in all seriousness… We need comfort. We need healing and redemption.
And you, our dear Maia, cannot be refused.
We love you so much. Rest in peace, beloved sisters.