Friday, March 4, 2011

Ilan Tokayer, 1985-2011

Tears and laughter remind me how far I am from so many people I care so much about. The missed weddings, the cheeky newborns. Life breaking upon the lonely surf of my army island.

The tears are not supposed to happen. Not when I am in the army, not when I am the one "putting my life on the line" or whatever a soldier's sacrifice is supposedly about.

So how could I accept, why should I believe, the rumor a friend passed my way this morning. "A fatal car accident in California. Ilan... yes, Ilan is gone."

Heavy silence in Ben Yehuda. Rumors. A world away, a world asleep. Rumors. Rumors I have no reason to accept. Rumors I don't want to.

Rumors that slowly, conversation by conversation, suggest that Ilan is really gone. I am not ready to mourn. Not for a friend I spoke to only five days ago, trading army stories, embarrassing wedding moments. Perceptive to a fault, intellectually curious like few I know. A friend waiting for me. No longer overseas, more than a world away. Miss ya so so much.

May Hashem comfort among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem


  1. Hello:

    My husband and I met Ilan last year right around Sukkot here in this tiny Jewish community in northern California. He graced our Shabbos table three weeks ago, February 11th, parsha Tetzaveh. What a pleasure it was, the singing, the wine, the brilliant Torah. It was one of the most memorable and delightful Shabbat experiences we've ever had.

    Ilan brought so much to our community. We benefited from his being apart of it. My husband and I would walk to shul on Shabbos morning and one of us would invariably say to the other "I hope Ilan leads services today" His voice and melodies elevated our davening. Ilan had a profound affect on people. Any adjective one could use that connotates human exceptionalism can be used to describe Ilan. Every mother here wished her daughter would have a shidduch like Ilan. It sounds trite - all the praise when someone passes from this earth but every bit of it is true in Ilan's case. He was everything good. It hardly seems possible we are speaking of him in the past tense.

    Since his sudden passing the community has been speaking about elevating Ilan's neshama with prayer, tzedaka and acts of loving kindness and so we will. But in reality it is we who have been elevated having the good fortune, the blessing of having this vibrant, sweet, holy soul in our community for the short time we did.

    I want to tell you and maybe it will be somewhat of a comfort to you that he did not die in a fatal car accident. He was driving and something happened, experienced something and pulled over to the side of the road and turned on his emergency lights. But by the time the ambulance arrived he was already gone. There was no violence. My heart goes out to you so far away and with so little information. May G-d comfort you in the loss of your friend.

    Besorot tovot,

  2. Would you mind posting this on