web analytics
February 2, 2015 / 13 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Wall Redeemed


(Editor’s Note: This is the sequel to Ms. Heiman’s May 18 front-page essay “Guns of Jerusalem,” accessible at www.jewishpress.com/page.do/21555/Guns_of_Jerusalem.html.)

Covered with sand and dust, his face the color of chalk, my husband resembled a nomad, shirt ripped, clothes and shoes much the same as one who just crossed a desert. Choked with emotion, he could barely speak when he returned late Thursday afternoon, the fourth day of the Six-Day War, from his first experience at the newly liberated Western Wall.

“I was there,” Sholom mumbled.

“Where?” I asked, frightened by his demeanor.

“I still can’t believe it – I was really there.”

Between gulps of tap water, he detailed his unusual day. Almost on impulse, he had traveled to the Kotel together with three other staff members of Boys Town Jerusalem. They’d been offered a ride by a non-Jewish acquaintance who drove them to Ramat Rachel, past the Arab village Zur Bacher, onto a winding road overlooking a breathtaking view of the Judean desert that led into the old city through the Lions’ Gate.

Abandoning their vehicle, they crossed Har Habayit by foot. In matter of moments they were squeezed into the narrow street facing the Kotel, where Jews for centuries had dreamed of praying.

For nearly two decades of Jordanian rule, Jews had been forbidden to enter that narrow street. Nineteen years our capital city had remained divided, and now, in three days, all the walls and barbed wire fences had come down.

*     *     *

In those years, letters, not phone calls, were the main lines of communication with our relatives in America. That night, after lighting a few candles – electricity had yet to be restored – Sholom shared his emotional high in a letter to his father:

        Zeh Hayom Asa Hashem, Nagilah V’nismecha Vo

Erev r”chodesh Sivan, 5727

        I do not remember any time in my life that I’ve been so overwhelmed by events. Both Faigie and I cannot believe we witnessed an artillery war unfold beneath our balcony. The highlight, three days later, this afternoon when I found myself in front of the Kosel Maarovi – and I’m not even sure how I got there. It was a dream revealed – one I never imagined would happen in my lifetime. I’m still breathless, unable to properly express the tremendous sense of gratitude to Hashem felt so strongly when I dovened mincha in front of stones, remnants of the Beis Hamikdosh.

        Rabbi Shlomo Goren was surrounded by soldiers, paratroopers, and he displayed the unconditional surrender he received from Sheikh Jaabri the Mayor of Chevron. Rabbi Goren had just returned from the Meoras Hamachpelah, where he unlocked the door, and was the first Jew to enter in 700 years.

        Miraculous events transpired this week and we were among the worthy to be here in Yerushalaim to witnesses the greatness of Hashem, and glory restored to our city.

*     *     *

By Friday morning, electricity and phone service had been restored in most parts of the city. We were in touch with my parents and exchanged experiences with them. Poppa had recuperated from his frightful Monday morning walk home with Momma, under shellfire, from the kindergarten on Aza Street to Shaarei Chesed, where he had said Viduy and Shema on the curb of a Rechavia street, fully expecting his soul to depart this world at any moment.

“As soon as I replace that wheel on my car, I’m coming to pick you up,” Sholom said. He knew exactly where he wanted to take Poppa, and he knew how to get there.

I remained at home, returning our apartment to its pre-war condition and preparing for Shabbat, while Sholom was out with Poppa and the children, on their way to Kever Rachel.

As Sholom drove into Bethlehem, my father’s knees weakened. He could hardly step out of the car or stand up, shocked by the unfamiliar setting, especially once he realized they’d driven on a road that was mined on either side, with Arab corpses still strewn about in abundance.

The streets bustled with Israeli troops, jeeps, tanks, and artillery.

“What are we doing here, Shulem?” Poppa bellowed at his irresponsible son-in-law. Bist de meshigge – and nuch with the children? We’re still in the middle of a war! Look what’s going on here, this is a war zone!”

About the Author: Faigie Heiman is an accomplished short-story and essay writer and the author of a popular memoir titled “Girl For Sale.” Born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, she has lived in Israel for more than fifty years.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Wall Redeemed”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Handout photo of texted message sent by a fearful Christopher Cramer from Saudi Arabia before his death.
Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk
Latest Indepth Stories
HETi_logo2

It is offensive that in commemorating the Holocaust mentioning Israel was deemed inappropriate.

Questions-Answers-logo

Many questions, all with thee same, single answer

Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

More Articles from Faigie Heiman
Mrs. Hench Leiman

Aunt Hench is a natural charmer. A people person, spunky and quick as only someone small as a light bulb can be, and wherever she is, she is a bright star.

President Reuven Rivlin

The president’s message was one of living peacefully in a Jewish and democratic state, Jews of all stripes unified as brothers, with Arabs or citizens of other religions.

Water: a fluid with life-giving force, a thin liquid even a trickle of which can assure survival. Crops, fields, land, people – we all need water. We need water for growth, for purity, for beauty, for subsistence. What do we do when water sources are depleted? We have learned not to behave like the young […]

Beautiful Site, Joy of all the Earth; two of the seventy names provided for Jerusalem.

Beautiful Site, Joy of all the Earth; two of the seventy names provided for Jerusalem.

At age 104, my mother was still concerned about her relationship with Hashem.

Erev Yom Ha’Atzmaut, 2012: As I return from a visit to my elderly mother in the northern part of Jerusalem, the bus winds its way through ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. The stone buildings along the route are colorless shades of sand and grey, some new, some old and blackened with age. Men and women rush through busy streets, expressions of pain and joy, helpless and hopeful looks defining their faces.

Turning on the news Thursday night, I expected to hear the wretched daily tally of Kassam/Grad rockets shot from Gaza to into Sderot or Ashkelon; instead, breaking news streamed across the screen about a terror attack taking place that very moment at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-wall-redeemed/2007/05/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: