Ki Yachol Nuchal!

New olah; mom and wife. In small ways, every day, trying to rectify the error in judgement of my zaydies, the meraglim. "See these big grapes? We can make really big wine!"

Archive for the ‘chayalim’ Category

How do you know when you’re home?

Posted by rutimizrachi on 27/01/2009

Yom revi’i, 3 Shevat 5769.

It started with a loaf of warm challah wrapped in parchment paper, delivered with an even warmer smile, and a love note.

 To [your dear family],

With you in our prayers that [your son] should return safely very soon…

It ended with a prayer that Hashem will create a peaceful and speedy settlement of our Land.

More than the delicious challah and the love note, I think it was the love and empathy in Shani’s eyes that said to me “Welcome to Israel, where we are better because you are here, and where we understand to the core of our being what you are going through.”

The next week, a man I only know in passing came to my door.  “This is for the chayal (the soldier),” he said, “from the Yishuv.”  From the whole community.  Inside, a soft, warm hat, scarf and set of gloves were waiting to wrap a soldier in love, inside the hell of Gaza.  And another note, written to the dear soldier directly.   

“Yasher koach on the courage and sacrifice for the sake of the Nation.  We are very proud of you, and pray for peace for all the soldiers.  We wish you success and health.  Return in peace!  Strength and courage!  The families of Neve Daniel.”

The note matters to our son even more than the presents.

Throughout the three tense weeks, we were reminded every day that we were not alone.  On a particularly nerve-wracking day, I had a pleasant encounter with new young friends at the makolet.

One young mother turned her attention briefly from her son in his stroller.  “How is your son?  Have you heard anything?” 

From a short distance, her husband said, “Oh, don’t worry about her, ” he nodded in my direction.  “She was an army chick.”

“An ‘army chick’?” I responded.  “Yeah — a thousand years ago, when the expression ‘army chick’ was actually ‘hip’.”  Eight people standing in line shared the laugh with us.  Somehow, this little exchange made me feel strong and cheerful again.  Because I wasn’t alone.  Because they all were paying attention to the same news I was, and cared enough not to let me have the blues.

Dvora and I shared our worries for our sons over tea and Tehillim.   We agreed to keep each other positive, and to avoid dwelling on the depressing or terrifying aspects of the situation.  It was comforting to know that she was thinking the same things about her precious son that I was thinking about mine.

Throughout the weeks and days, individuals would call to ask how we were doing, was there any news, could they help us in any way…

When the cease fire was declared, relief spread throughout the yishuv.  On Shabbat, there were gatherings at various houses, welcoming home soldiers.  The soldiers were happy to speak, to tell over to friends and family the funny experiences, the miracles.

There was a shalom zachor, welcoming a new baby boy into the community.  And time was taken by the father and grandfather to speak of the sacrifices of the soldiers.

There was a bar mitzvah.  The proud father of the young man took some time from his family’s celebration to praise and thank the soldiers.

I think that this is some of what the solidarity of community is all about. 

Thank you, Shani and Keren and Karyn and Hillel and Dvora and Marcia and Romi and Josh and Miriam and Marc and Yarden and Stella and Sara and Shoshi and Merav …  Thank you, Neve Daniel.  It’s good to be home.  May we share good news, smachot, and happy endings.

As requested by someone I love, a short glossary:
Yishuv:  outlying community; “settlement”
Yasher koach:  Way to go!
Makolet:  corner grocery store
Army chick:  heh-heh-heh
Tehillim: Psalms
Smachot:  joyful times, often celebrations

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Posted in chayalim, community, Neve Daniel | 7 Comments »

Rav Aviner’s Song for the Soldiers

Posted by rutimizrachi on 18/01/2009

23 Tevet 5769.

Rav Shlomo Aviner has a blog, called “Torat HaRav Aviner,” which gives me a lot of chizuk, especially in these challenging times.  He has written beautiful lyrics for which Eliyon Shemesh has created a joyful and powerful melody, which remind us of what Rav Goldberger has always taught us is true of the Jewish people:  V’ameich kulam tzadikim!  [And all of Your people are righteous!]

A Slow Line Enters Gaza:
A Song for Israeli Soldiers


(Many thanks to Rabbi Mordechai Friedfertig, as always, for his translation of Rav Aviner’s words.)

The unit commander is a factory owner.
The regimental commander is an engineer.
The company commander is a nature guide.
The platoon commander is in his mandatory army service.
The sergeant major sells holy books.
The sergeant is somewhat of a carpenter.
The squad leader is currently unemployed.
And the private is retired.

But all of them are excellent soldiers
Marching in the quiet of the night in a slow line
Entering enemy territory
Without fear
In order to wage war for our Nation
As their parents had done for them.

The unit commander has a bad back.
The regimental commander – high cholesterol.
The company commander – digestive problems.
The platoon commander just doesn’t look good.
The sergeant major – problems with his eyes.
The sergeant has trouble sleeping.
The squad leader is scratching.
And the private has corns on his foot.

But all of them are excellent soldiers
Who slip into the darkness in a slow line
Entering enemy territory
Forgetting that they are pampered and sensitive
Filled each day with drops, oils and pills
And they are suddenly healthy.
And these men who are afraid of shots and dentists
Are suddenly courageous
They are not afraid of anything
They do anything that needs to be done
Because what is needed is needed.
They don’t think about themselves
But about the national goal
Because it is enough of this mess
And we must now act to protect our Nation
And this is only the appetizer.

The unit commander is a leftist against the settlements.
The regimental commander is a settler for the settlements.
The company commander votes for the centrist party.
The platoon commander is a Religious-Zionist who is deciding between two parties.
The sergeant major is Ultra-Orthodox.
The sergeant is a socialist.
The squad leader votes for all the parties.
And the private has still not decided.

But all of them are excellent soldiers
Marching silently in the darkness of the night.
Under the smiling moon
With preparedness and strength
And the same people who do not agreed
About anyting in politics and religion
Have suddenly become brothers.
Brothers in arms and brothers in battle
Who sacrifice for each other with their heart and soul
Everyone suddenly agrees
That the best thing we have
Is our country and the army which defends us
And they are ready to completely strike the enemy
For once and all
So that we will be left in peace.

Posted in chayalim, Gaza War, Rav Shlomo Aviner | 4 Comments »