I wrote this next part just a few months after Elie became a soldier – it was my first Yom HaZicharon as a soldier’s mother. Everything made me cry. I didn’t go to the ceremony. I couldn’t; I wouldn’t. I begged forgiveness from those who had died but I couldn’t go. It was enough, I said to myself, to light a candle and be alone.
At some point, I heard a song on the radio and listened to the words. It was, I thought, one of the hardest songs to hear – beautiful but so incredibly sad. I can, to this day, barely listen to the entire song…
How shall I bless him, with what will his child be blessed, asked the angel?
And blessed him with a smile that is like light.
And blessed him with eyes, large and wide
with which to see every flower, animal and bird.
And a heart, with which to feel all the sights.
Noam Meirson was only 23 years old when he was killed in Lebanon last summer. His tank was hit by a missile. I went to his funeral and was overwhelmed by the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who were there. It was an outpouring of love and sympathy for his family and a recognition of the tragedy that had befallen his family and all of Israel. This young man, killed only a month before he was to be married, reminded all of us that Israel was again at war. May his memory be blessed.
How shall I bless him, with what will he be blessed?
And blessed him with legs to dance forever.
And a soul with which to remember all the melodies.
And a hand that collects shells by the shore.
And an ear, attentive to old and young.
Michael Levin went back to America to visit his family. When Michael heard that Israel was at war with Hizbollah in 2006, he cut short his visit and flew back to the land he had chosen as his home, to join his paratroopers in Battalion 890. He was killed by a Hizbollah sniper in the Lebanese village ofAyta A-Shayeb. He didn’t have to come live here, except that he loved this land above all others.
He didn’t have to leave his family to come back and fight, except he had long ago accepted that Israel was his family too. And Israel needed him last summer and so, without a moment’s hesitation, Michael came. He flew back to join his men, his brothers, because in his heart, and in ours, he was and will always be, a part of Israel. May his memory be blessed.
How shall I bless him, with what will this youth be blessed, asked the angel?
And blessed him that his hands, wise among the flowers
should succeed also in learning the strength of steel.
And legs that dance the road’s journey.
And his lips that sing the rhythm of commands.
Major Roi Klein was only 31 when his unit was attacked in Bint J’beil, in Lebanon last summer. One of the terrorists lobbed a grenade towards the group and as the grenade settled on the ground near his troops, Roi yelled out “Sh’ma Yisrael” and jumped on the grenade.
He took the force of the grenade, thus saving his troops.
He left behind a young wife and two small boys and yet again, redefined what it is to be an Israeli hero. May his memory be blessed.
I gave him all.
A song, a smile and legs to dance.
A gentle hand and a trembling heart.
How shall I bless, what more?
Philip Mosko loved to volunteer for the local ambulance squad in Maaleh Adumim, his home town. He died in Lebanon doing what he loved to do best, help people. He volunteered for a dangerous mission, and died trying to save another’s life.
A room has been dedicated in his honor for the ambulance squad volunteers, and Davidi spends many hours in that room. Maaleh Adumim and my sons mourn a boy from here, a young man who was dedicated to saving lives and in the end, gave his life to Israel last summer. May his memory be blessed.
How shall I bless him, with what will he be blessed this child, gentle youth.
This boy now is an angel,
No more will they bless him, he will no more be blessed.
God, God, Oh God,
If only you had blessed him with life.
— Ma Avarech – How Shall I Bless Him
By Rachel Shapira
May God bless the families of Noam and Michael and Roi and Philip and all those who have lost sons and daughters, husbands, fathers and grandfathers, brothers and sisters and may He send them comfort.
May God bless the soldiers of Israel – with life.