Amit Ben Yigal, age 21, was killed by a terrorist last May while on a mission to arrest members of a terror cell in the northern Samarian village of Ya’bad. Next week, his father, Baruch will celebrate the Passover Seder without his son. Baruch is asking the public to commemorate his son’s sacrifice for the nation of Israel, and also the sacrifice by so many others, by setting one place in their memory at their holiday tables.
Amit Ben Yigal: A Hero to Remember
Amit, a Staff Sergeant in the elite Golani Reconnaissance Battalion, became the only IDF soldier killed in 2020 when he was struck in the head by a rock hurled from a building after a roundup of terrorists had been completed. He was killed one month before the end of his service. A resident of Ramat Gan, Amit is survived by his parents and two step-sisters from his mother’s side.
In a video presented by Israel365, Baruch explained:
“At the Passover Seder, we ask, ‘Why is this night different from all other nights?’,” Baruch explained. “To me, the difference is that Amit will not be there.”
“I will have an empty seat, Amit’s empty seat, at my seder,” Baruch said. “My only son that Hashem (God, literally ‘the name’) gave to me. My only son, that was taken from me on May 12, 2020. This year, I will have an empty seat at my seder. I will ask, ‘Why is this night different?’ and answer the question by looking at Amit’s empty seat.”
“I am asking for everyone to leave one seat empty for Amit. One empty seat will demonstrate that we are all united.”
Baruch quoted the Talmud (Shevuot 39a): “All of Israel is responsible, one for the other.”
“This year, Amit fought on our behalf from a sense of responsibility. Let’s also show responsibility and leave an empty seat for Amit. Thank you.”
Amit’s Dream to Serve in an IDF Combat Unit
Amit’s story is indeed one of mutual responsibility and a love of Israel. Only-children are normally not allowed to enter combat units but Amit asked his father for special permission and continued to ask until his father relented.
“He wanted to serve in a combat unit and asked that I sign [my consent] for him,” Baruch told the Ynet news site. “‘I want to go to a combat unit and have a meaningful service,’ he said. I told him, ‘You’re my only son, I have nothing besides you, not a father, not a mother, you’re the only one I have in this world. I have nothing.’ He said to me, ‘Dad, I’m asking you to sign for me,’” the father recalled.
“So we drove together to [the military base at] Tel Hashomer, I signed, I hugged him, I said the priestly benediction over him and blessed him, and we laughed and went to eat. Then he told me, ‘I’ll take care of myself.’ He said it maybe 30 times to quiet my conscience,” Baruch recalled.
His mother, Nava Revivo, said that serving in a combat unit was Amit’s dream.
“He was my eldest son, his father’s only son. Absolutely unique. He loved me so much and admired me and always showed affection, and always made me think everything was fine with him. He always wanted to be first in line, always to be first.”
“He came from a Zionist household. He loved the people of Israel, the land of Israel,” Baruch told the Kan public broadcaster.
“We don’t have anything else. I am broken, I am broken, I am broken, I am crushed,” he said. “I don’t have words for it.”
How you can commemorate Amit’s legacy
In addition to leaving a seat empty at your Passover meal, Israel365 has published a Haggadah in Ben-Yigal’s honor. The Haggadah is the storybook recited at the Passover festive meal (seder).
The Israel Bible Passover Haggadah features a forward from Amit’s father, Baruch, as well as pictures and a poem written by Amit himself during his stint in the IDF.
So if you’d like to honor Amit’s legacy, one way to do so is to purchase The Israel Bible Passover Haggadah dedicated to the only fallen IDF hero throughout this past year: Amit Ben-Yigal.