Shortly before the holiday began, Elie told me that Refeal Daniel Aryeh ben Tamar had died and was buried the night. This is the name of a 16-year-old boy I never met and yet his death shook my heart. Like most kids his age, Daniel Aryeh was released to enjoy Passover with his family. He went to visit his grandmother; took a fun day with a family friend driving around on a school bus.
Luckily, the bus driver had just dropped off all of the kids on his route – only Daniel Aryeh and he remained on the bus when an Arab sighted the bus, aimed his sophisticated, anti-tank missile at the bus, and pulled the release. Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad doesn’t understand why Israel made such a fuss about the targeting of a school bus. He complained that the bus wasn’t even badly damaged – he had seen pictures, you see.
But Daniel Aryeh was “badly damaged.” The dreaded word “anush” was used to describe his condition. This is a word that sends dread through the body. Anush. It means there is little or no hope. It means pray for a miracle. It means the doctors don’t expect the person to survive. It means pray and keep praying. Some, a few, very few, come back from “matsav anush” – mortally or severely injured.
There is a tradition to sometimes add a name to someone who is ill or badly injured. Daniel Aryeh became Refeal – a name that in itself asks God for healing.
But Refeal Daniel Aryeh’s injuries were too severe. Sadly, though I am sure they wish they were wrong, the doctors’ predictions came true. I didn’t hear about his death until shortly before the holiday came in because I was so busy getting ready. May the memory of Refeal Daniel Aryeh be a blessing to his parents and all who loved him; may the bus driver who survived the attack be granted a full and speedy recovery. May the parents of Refeal Daniel Aryeh be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may they know no more sorrow.
And may those who focused that missile on a school bus know that there are Powers to be reckoned with, punishments in this world and in the next. May they be granted justice and pay all the days of their miserable lives for the murder of this innocent boy…they, and all the generations to come from them – may they know no rest.