Eli Ostraicher was a successful student at the Kiryat Noar Yeshiva in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem. Ostraicher was also popular among his peers as a confident and forceful personality. Eli excelled both in his Jewish studies and in his field of choice in secular studies- nuclear physics. His teachers predicted a brilliant future for him.
Eli joined the army and unfortunately his religious level decreased dramatically. He fought with his unit in the Gaza strip during the war of attrition and fell in battle.
Rav Yagen's story starts a short time after Eli's death….
Rav David Auerbach, Eli's twelfth grade teacher, dreamed that Eli came to him in a dream. He looked angry and said that his soul could not find repose in Gan Eden since he had sinned before his death. He said: “Why didn't you convince me to go to Yeshiva? If you had tried a bit harder to influence me I would not have desecrated Shabbat and sinned in other ways, I would have gone to Yeshiva”.
Despite the fact that those who are killed as Jews in war have a special place reserved for them near G-d's throne, Eli's soul could not reach that place because of his sins. Rabbi Auerbach told the dream to his wife, but she dismissed it and said that he did not need to take it seriously. However the next night Eli appeared again to his Rabbi crying that his soul was suffering and asked the same question: “Why didn't you persuade me to go to a Yeshiva?” The Rabbi got up and roused his wife saying that he had the same dream again and didn't know what to do. His wife told him to ask the departed in his dream what could be done to help his afflicted soul reach atonement. When he fell asleep again (It was Shabbat afternoon), the soldier's soul appeared to him again. Rav Auerbach asked what could be done and the soldier begged him to gather all of the 2000 students at Kiryat Noar and to learn Mishnayot and say Tehillim until after the Shabbat and say Kaddish in his memory. Rav Auerbach indeed went to the school, where all the boys studied and learned in Eli's memory. After Shabbat, Eli appeared to Rav Auerbach in a dream smiling and said that the learning had helped his soul achieve its goal.
From this story we can realize the responsibility incumbent on each of us to try and influence our peers to keep Mitzvot. Every bit of influence could have an effect on the future of a person, and especially if he is a student or at an impressionable age.