Four years ago on Erev sukkot, myself and many hundreds of other mourners accompanied our beloved Yoni to his final resting place in the hills of Jerusalem as we attended the funeral of Yoni Jesner.
Yoni was a talmid at Gush, who was in Tel Aviv on Sukkot vacation. He was on a bus when a sucicide bomber blew himself up on the bus, and Yoni was hit by flying glass which killed him. Yoni was my student, if only for a brief time. He was impressive and instantly loveable. Yoni was an extraordinary individual, and every year we - a small group of family and friends -revisit his traumatic death as we congregate at a short Azkara at his graveside.
As we enter the festive atmosphere of Sukkot, there is no more suitable time than that to remember Yoni. Yoni was Simcha personified. He was filled with joy and he gave a smile and a warm feeling of appreciation and inspiration to all around him.
The Gemara in Masschet Sukka debates whether a Sukka is a דירת קבע or a דירת ארעי - a temporary dwelling, or a permanent dwelling. Well, clearly life is a דירת ארעי - we are here today and gone tomorrow; life is so fleeting, so fragile. Yoni's death demonstrates that. And yet, Yoni was such a presence, such a personality. In his short years he proved that we can make our lives a דירת קבע; we can create a permanent, lasting contribution. Yoni's life exemplified that!
Sukkot is zman simchateinu because it is a time to appreciate all the goodness that God has given us. Today, Ari, his brother spoke at the graveside of how Yoni tried to live his life making every moment meaningful. He should inspire us to do the same.
Here is something I wrote at the time of his death.