A few months ago, I wrote a piece in which I stated: “The author of Shul with a View is the Man without a Name.”

The article discussed the discomfort I have experienced in the six decades of my life living with the uncommon name of Ron Yitzchok.

I had never met anyone in my life with the precise name as me; nor had anyone else I ever met. It seemed to be my unique and exclusive name. I began to feel as if I had a patent on the name Ron Yitzchok.

All that changed on the morning of Friday, 13 Kislev.

When I woke in the morning, my phone was already pulsating with messages and unanswered phone calls. The night before, an Israeli soldier had been stabbed to death in a terrorist attack in Arad. The news was brief and to the point:

An IDF spokesman announced that the soldier stabbed and murdered in Thursday evening’s terror attack was 19-year-old Ron Yitzchak Kukia from Tel Aviv.

When I first saw my name in print, a tremor took hold of me.

I had never met him, I was not related to him, nor did he or I ever know of each other’s existence. Nevertheless, seeing my name in print as the name of the murdered soldier was unnerving.

Obviously, there was nothing rational about my feelings of discomfort and distress. Nor was there any compelling reason for me to feel greater pain at this soldier’s murder at the hands of our enemies than for any other Jew killed al kiddush Hashem.

Nevertheless, rational thinking is not the sum total of the man, and the power of names and what they represent is a potent part of our tradition.

The Arizal writes that Hashem Himself places the “correct” name of the child in the mouths of the mother and father; and this name is specific for this soul — so much so that the name is engraved in the Kisei Hakavod.

The Gemara says (Berachos 7b), “It’s your name that causes [you to be who you are].”

I began to read everything I could about my namesake Ron Yitzchak.

He was not raised in a Torah environment, yet, as opposed to many other recruits from middle-class Tel Aviv, he chose to be in a combat unit. He was not a pencil pusher; Ron Yitzchak chose to put his very life on the line.

I felt camaraderie with my namesake, but some piece of the puzzle was missing. I felt we were connected — but how?

As I listened to the hesped from Ron Yitzchak’s mother and heard her final words, the picture was suddenly clear.

The mother — a secular woman — ended her moving eulogy by stating with total sincerity, “Go, my son, on your way; you are embraced and hugged in the arms of Hashem.”

When I heard this woman scream out from the depths of her Jewish soul, “My son, you are being embraced by Hashem,” a powerful and unbreakable connection with Ron Yitzchak z”l was forged.

I too so often feel embraced by Hashem, yet Ron Yitzchak z”l is truly among the privileged few to sacrifice his life for the Jewish People and to be literally embraced while basking in His Presence.

I feel I have lost a part of me as my namesake Ron Yitzchak z”l has left This World al kiddush Hashem.

All I can do now is to attempt — in Ron Yitzchak z”l’s merit — to make more people aware of the comforting embrace of Hashem and how they can experience it, immediately, in the here and now.

Ron Yitzchak z”l is now where he is supposed to be; it’s now up to me to be where I should be. (Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 693)