After the beautiful holiday of Sukkot I decided to cap it off by spending Simchat Torah with my family in Maale Adumim.
Friday night was very special in the Happy Minyan that my children attend. The dancing on both sides of the mechitzah was very joyous. On Shabbat morning my daughter and I decided to wait before heading across the street to the much closer shul. The only strange sight was a car going back and forth in this Sabbath-observing community. And then we heard the siren, long and loud. “Could that be for real?” We hurried into the safe room together with granddaughter Tova, and soon heard the loud “BOOM.” Thankfully, the Iron Dome had destroyed the missile.
We returned to the dining room with all thoughts of going out of the house over. A young man came along telling us that cars had been going to all the shuls and taking young men to the army. “Oh no,” my heart skipped a beat. “Shades of the Yom Kippur war.” We had made aliyah two years earlier and I will never forget that scene of the shul emptying out.
Now another war was upon us. What about my grandson Yoni? He had returned to yeshiva in Maale Adumim to join in the Simchat Torah celebration and he had promised to come visit us after lunch. Had he been drafted? A few hours later, son-in-law Michael and grandson Elisha came home from shul and told us about their experience when the siren sounded and they saw friends leave for the army.
A few hours later there was a knock at the door and in walked Yoni. How thankful I was to see him. I told him that I was afraid that he had been called up. “I was called up, Savta, and I came to say goodbye.” I couldn’t speak for a minute and felt my eyes tearing. Yoni told us that when he realized what was going on he turned on his phone and got the news. I asked him if he knew about any of his brothers, but he didn’t. He sat with us for a little while and we were giving him our wishes and blessings. Quietly an 11-year-old friend, Avraham (Annie’s son), slipped out of the house and quickly returned holding a huge bucket filled with all kinds of candies and treats. This was all the candy that he had gotten that day in shul and he gave it to Yoni for him to take to his unit. Yoni was speechless and my eyes filled with tears. The candy was wrapped up and it was time for Yoni to leave. I kissed him goodbye and he was off.
After Shabbat and the chag were over we made the phone calls. Granddaughter Gila’s husband had also been called up, and Yoni’s three brothers were also called to various positions. Grandson Gav and granddaughter T were also sent to the army. It was very hard for me to sleep that night. I heard Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the nation announcing that our country is at war and then the tragic figures started coming in. How could it be that the country with the best intelligence in the world hadn’t had a clue? The hand of Hashem is my only answer.
I went back home on Sunday, and Monday we had sirens in Jerusalem. It’s very frightening. It’s hard for me to rush anywhere, and the only place I can go is into the hallway – and then comes the loud boom, thank G-d.
I asked my sons how they deal with having their children fighting this war. Both of them answered, “With great faith in Hashem and a lot of prayers.”
To all our dear readers, please pray for all of our holy soldiers and Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah crews and for our beautiful land of Israel. With G-d’s help we will succeed and overcome this vicious enemy.