Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Letter to Yochai

March 7, 2002

Dear Yochai (z”l)

Hi. It’s me, your beloved troublemaker, Natalie.

It’s hard for me to believe that you are gone, that you have gone on to bigger and better things, higher and more important places. Hard to believe that in this lifetime, I will never again see your smile or hear you laugh. I won’t be told by you to “show up in full MDA uniform” and be scolded to close that silly top button. And I won’t be able to tell you, face to face, what I should have said last week.

So I write this letter to you. And I hope somehow you will receive this message.

First and foremost, I want to apologize. I want to tell you I am sorry for getting angry about things that seem so unimportant now. You mentioned once that we are very alike and that’s why we kept going “head to head”. I told you that you were wrong. But now I want to say that to be like you would be a great honor. To accomplish even half of what you have done and to begin to touch lives as you have is a goal I strive for.

The line between teacher to student and friend to friend was very thin. To let you down as a teacher was hard. But to disappoint you as a friend hurt me deep inside. I was looking forward to working with you next week in arranging a MDA course for students on my Overseas Program at Ben-Gurion University. I was sure it would make you happy. Yochai, I wanted to make you so proud.

As it says on our Magen David Adom certificates, “To save one life is like saving an entire world.” I can only begin to imagine how many lives you have saved and how many worlds you have created. So too, everyone in the courses you taught have gone on to save lives around the world and educate people about Eretz Yisroel and Magen David Adom.

The lessons you taught me on the course and the things I have learned about you since then have changed my life forever. You gave me a chance to give back to the country that has given me so much, an opportunity I have been longing for since the moment I stepped foot in Israel. You also reminded me that life is short and I must live every moment to the very fullest. And that when I find something I love, I should put my complete heart and soul into it. Not only that, but I should share it and spread the love to others. In the short time I knew you, I learned this is exactly how you lived. Yochai, you made a difference in my life and taught me that I, one person, can too change the world.

Thank you Yochai Porat (z”l).

May you rest in peace.

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