A tribute to Dr. Gadi Sadovsky z”l

Burning candle נר דולק

There are times when I hear about a death and say to myself, as I did this morning – dear G-d, don’t You know who Gadi Sadovsky is? Could You not have made time stand still? Could You not have given him more time in this world?  After all, this special person came to this world to save lives. Dr. Gadi Sadovsky, Colonel in the Reserves, was ready and willing to endanger his own life to save others. At the same time, he was always so unassuming, acting behind the scenes to sidestep fanfare. He never wanted his involvement known.

This morning, after your beloved wife Natti-Natalia informed me of the news, I called Hershko Surin to let him know that Gadi is no more. I felt I had to tell Hershko that Dr. Gadi Sadovsky, the man who cared for him on that fateful night in Entebbe, on the steps of the new terminal together with our paratroop brigade physician, Dr. Joel Sayfen, was gone. Gadi helped Dr. Sayfen stabilize you, Hershko, right there, next to the cockpit of Hercules 1, as we flew from Entebbe to Nairobi during the night between the 3rd and 4th of July 1976, after you were critically wounded by the bullet that ploughed into your neck. Gadi was right there beside you. He removed the blood clot that blocked your breath, as he and Dr. Sayfen prepared to insert a tracheal tube in the event that you would not be able to breathe independently.

Much to my surprise, Hershko told me that he never met Dr. Sadovsky after Entebbe.  Suddenly, Gadi, I understood the extent of your humility. You always chose to remain in the background. You deferred to Dr. Sayfen, your commander at that time who chose you to assist him in the mission and later to take his place as the paratroop brigade’s physician, and allowed him center stage.  What magnanimity, Gadi, to put your ego aside and always, but always, remember that the focus is on the patient and the wounded. The doctor serves only as a messenger; he is a kind of unseen provider.

Dear Gadi, I have come to thank you. Thank you for the many years of friendship. Thank you for delivering my three children, Nitzan, my firstborn, Eran, my second child, and Shoham, my third. How courageous of you, Gadi, to tell me after Eran was born, “Doron, something is not right,” when I asked you why you wrote, “funny looking face” in the report. You concealed nothing, nor did you dress up the reality. You told the truth. As always. And your eyes, Gadi, your eyes were glazed with sorrow, a sorrow so deep that it shook the very core of the universe.

My dear, beloved Gadi,

The words you wrote to Didi and me following the 14th anniversary of the passing of our son, Eran, once again confirmed just what type of person you were, verifying anew how shattered you were when you informed me that something was not right. Despite your humility, dear Gadi, I would like to share the words you penned to us, and I ask your forgiveness for making them public. I do so, dear Gadi, because what you wrote constitutes the essence of the innocence and truth you embodied. Hopefully, these words will be an inspiration for many others in this universe.

“Doron and Didi – dear souls,” you wrote. “I follow you steadily and quietly from behind, noting your infinite giving, your power of perseverance and the abundance of your tireless devotion. Each time, I am overcome with a new sense of awe. I wish I had not been the “disclosing messenger,” and I wish that it all could have been different. If only we could rewind the film, change, erase and insert a different reel into the projector of history. We would say, ‘Excuse us, we made a mistake, we didn’t mean . . .’ If only we could exist in a complete and perfect world, a world in which we would not be faced with these difficult challenges. There are not enough words to describe your place in the test of history, Doron and Didi. It seems to me that this time, the accursed mission was bestowed upon heavenly angels. The results of your work endow us with infinite prospects for a better world of acceptance and giving. With yet another hug and tear, Gadi.”

Rest in peace, Gadi, my dear beloved friend. I will miss watching you stroke the clods of earth in the garden surrounding your home. I will miss witnessing your pride in Michal, Noa and Tom, and I will miss watching you prepare yet another glass of orange juice or cup of espresso with your own two hands in an attempt to begin yet one more conversation and gain a few more minutes together as I ready myself to leave.

May your exemplary life be a source of inspiration for doctors, paratroopers, soldiers and all people as numerous as the grains of sand by the sea.

I love you.


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