Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Am Yisrael is hurting. “Ais tzarah he l’Yaakov” – it is a time of anguish for our nation.

What do we do with the grief? Oceans of hurt with nowhere to go. We are so tired of feeling tired.


I’ve seen seemingly ordinary women take hold of their suffering and transform the moment into an indescribable creation. There is for sure, raw, jagged pain. And yet, there is a determination that has set in. A spirit of resilience and purpose that has been formed. It is a life-force born through suffering.

Many of these women’s words have moved me. There is one in particular I’d like to share with you. She is oh so young. The sky is black above her as she stands to bid her husband farewell. Soft wails float around her but she is resolved to relay the story of her love.

Her name is Maayan. She is mourning her husband Shai Uriel Pizem who fell in Gaza. She describes their brief life together; the joy, the struggle, and the ups and downs. She speaks of Shai’s indelible spirit, his love of doing that which is hard, yet justifies waking up in the morning.

It is at the end of her talk that I find myself awash with tears.

Addressing her husband she says “Shaikie. You left me with an enormous task. The work of a lifetime. I promise you that Yarden Ori, the enormous light you left us, will be the happiest child in the world.

“When you left home the last time I asked you if it was not hard for you to leave Yarden. He loved Yarden so much. He only had two weeks with her. It felt like two months. You answered me that it was not hard because now more than ever you know what you are fighting for. Yarden Ori, Abba went to fight for you. And I will fight to protect you. And Abba is protecting us from the heavens above.

“Three weeks ago exactly, we were in the delivery room. And when Yarden Ori finally came into the world, you put on this song, this baby lullaby. I would like us to sing this song together. It is my prayer.”

The lullaby begins to play. It fills the darkness of the night.

“Olam chadash – a new and good world I will give you. In a blue peek you can already see.
How important it is to see.
Half a moon. Winking. Yellow. Yellow.
Out of the darkness.
Little girl, I hear you.
Hug all your fears.”

It is time to say goodbye to Shai. Maayan wraps her arms around her family, his family, all ages and generations, join together as one. She stands strong, you can see it in her eyes. This young mother knows that she holds the promise of tomorrow in her hands. She will not succumb to anger or fear. She will teach her child to endure. She will carry Shai’s favorite lullaby with her. She will bring music and love into her little girl’s heart.

When you go through pain and challenge, you have a choice. You can sit in the darkness and grow angry and bitter. You can become despondent. Or, you can strike a match, light a candle, and kindle a flame.

I pray that our mothers find the strength to ignite our world with their light. I pray that this new generation grows up knowing that their fathers and brothers were heroes who left a legacy of courage and faith.

And to all the brave women who are carrying on alone as they cry silent tears in the night, I ask that we take a moment to contemplate and feel their pain. They are the true ‘eshet chayil,’ warriors of our nation.

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Slovie Jungreis Wolff is a noted teacher, author, relationships and lecturer. She is the leader of Hineni Couples and the author of “Raising A Child With Soul.” She gives weekly classes and has lectured throughout the U.S., Canada, and South Africa. She can be reached at [email protected].