Matan Mordechai Lior


In a letter from his uncle, 30 days after his murder, Matan was remembered: “Matan called me uncle until his life was tragically cut short at the Nova bloodshed party. When we met, we would embrace, and after each hug, he always asked, ‘How are you, uncle?’ or ‘Everything okay, uncle?’ Sometimes the hug was joyous, other times, like at his grandmother Rachel’s (my mother’s) funeral, it held a different weight. We’re a family that expresses affection through hugs.

I was the cool uncle from Tel Aviv, the crazy artistic uncle who loved shenanigans, someone he could talk and laugh with about anything. At least that’s how I felt, and what I heard at the shiva – that’s how he described me to his friends.

Whenever Matan saw me pulling off a prank or telling a funny story, or when I was mocking the people and the atmosphere around me, he would give me this mischievous look and draw out a long, melodic “Well done, Daaaaavid.” Or he would just laugh. He himself was quite the jokester, a rebellious and amusingly annoying kid and teenager. He was a sharp-witted prankster in his own right. His school principal, whom he often visited due to discipline issues and pranks, once found her nameplate defaced with “and Matan” written under her name in marker. He thought he deserved it since he spent so much time in her office. She told us how much she loved him, despite and because of the trouble he caused her.

It’s been a month today, November 7, 2023, exactly a month after that cursed October 7, 2023. This has been the most turbulent month of my life. I’m engulfed in the deepest sorrow I’ve ever known, because there’s no pain deeper than bereavement. I’ve fought, seen wounded friends in war, known good friends who fell. I’ve had those who died of severe illnesses. I buried a beloved mother. There’s no greater pain, no more painful mourning, no larger hole in the heart. I have a hole in my heart shaped like you, Matan. And I’ve never been more connected to myself because nothing connects a person more to their heart and mind, and teaches more than pain.

My heart aches, Matan. But just now, I raised a glass. I raise a glass every day in your memory and for the elevation of your soul. I poured myself a small Fernet Branca, a fine alcohol, and the herbs are good for the stomach. And it’s bitter, which feels appropriate right now. Among other things, Matan understood alcohol, loved fine whisky, preferably single malt.

So, here’s to you, Matan. To our lives. To life, period. Raise a glass with me and the angels, if they’re there. Raise a glass to Matan’s life and to receiving love.”

Funeral Date: 13/10/2023
Shloshim Date: 12/11/2023

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