During the shiva, an officer from his unit – non-observant – came to console his widow. He had been with Emmanuel shortly before he was killed. Waiting for a helicopter to take them into the combat zone, they discussed what might transpire and what their response would be. Two weeks before, a Hizbollah rocket had hit an IDF copter killing all five soldiers aboard.
“What would you do if God forbid our helicopter is hit and you realize that you have five seconds left to live before the helicopter explodes?” Emmanuel asked.
“I don’t know. I’m sure that I would be frightened, close my eyes and hope that it end quickly with little pain.”
“What I would do, and so should you, is recite Shema.”
“I looked at him,” the officer continued, “and said, ‘what good would that do? In a minute the helicopter is going to explode and you’re going to die!’”
“Emmanuel responded with a statement that will remain with me for as long as I live. ‘If a person has five seconds to live and he believes that there is still purpose to life and is motivated by the consequences that will be known in the world to come, then his life has meaning. But if he doesn’t realize that those five seconds mean something, then it is possible that his entire life was meaningless for he doesn’t understand that this
world is but a stage on our way to the next.’”
Today is Yom ha-Zikaron. Please join me in begging the Ribbono shel Olam that no more children or soldiers be called to join the holy minyan in Heaven.
Visit Emes Ve-Emunah . / Harry Maryles