When Yankel came into the Beit Midrash you couldn't help but notice him. Don't get me wrong: He was not an imposing figure. He was actually kind of short. He wasn't a great Torah scholar so nobody would rise in his honor when entered the Beit Midrash. Yankel was different. He would dress weird. He would talk weird. He would come up to you and ask you weird questions. Yankel was weird.
Yankel never married. That is probably because he was weird. What kind of girl would want to marry a weird guy? But then again, there are a lot of weird guys that get married. He just had to find a girl that likes weird guys. Perhaps Yankel was asexual. It seems to me that getting married wasn't one of his objectives. Did I say that Yankel was weird?
The love of the people of Israel and the land of Israel burned in Yankel's heart. He liked to read a lot. He was very interested in the political situation in Israel. Yankel wanted to hasten the redemption of the Jewish people. He would publish his thoughts on this matter and distribute them in the synagogues and Batei Midrash in Jerusalem. He would talk about his ideas with you whether you were interested or not. For some he was a pest. You could make him very happy by reading the sheets he distributed or by discussing his ideas with him. Yankel should have been a blogger. He was weird.
Yankel passed away last week. Nobody published mourning notices as is customary in the Holy City. Blaring megaphones mounted on the roofs of by taxi cabs did not spread the news of his demise in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem. A huge crowd did not take part in his funeral procession. I found out about his untimely death through a handwritten note that was tacked up on a synagogue bulletin board.
Yankel's family mourns. For them he was not weird; he was a brother and a son. Those who looked past his weirdness and valued his great love of the land of Israel and the people of Israel will miss him. Weird Yankel is no longer with us. May his soul be bound in the bundle of life.