A Mother’s Pride

I like to think that I show tremendous pride for the actions of my sons. This blog is called A Soldier’s Mother and so post after post, I write of my sons  – the two…no three…no four…who are soldiers. I cannot begin to explain how much I am in awe of these young men.

Of Yaakov, who flew across the world to serve this land; who loves it as his own, who is married with a beautiful wife and daughter and who, I pray, will come home again as soon as he can.

Of Elie, who gave three years of his life, showing his motivation again and again. Of how he focused on his training, allowed them to mold him into a commander, and how he took that responsibility so seriously. Of his going to war in the hope that he and his men could help stop the violence against our land and of how even now, he lives with the knowledge that months alone separate him from yet another service he will give to this nation.

Of Chaim, who like Yaakov, left his family and the comforts of home (and his own car) to come here and serve and make this land his. Of his dedication, his conquering a language and a society and making it his own, of the joy he brings to our home each time he comes home to us.

Of Shmulik, who gave combat his best, and was smart enough to know when he couldn’t continue. Of his being strong enough to tell the army what he wanted and how he now dedicates himself to his job. Of his bringing a bride home to his family, and of all he is doing now to build his own home.

So, I could stop here and say I have shown my pride – except today’s post isn’t about my boys, but about my youngest daughter. With her, I am not a soldier’s mother, but still, I am so proud. Her school took her on a class trip. They went to Ir David (the City of David) in Jerusalem.

Ir David is an amazing place; it is where we discover today, the greatness of what was. It is the Jerusalem we have lost and now reclaim. The Jerusalem that was always and will always be, the center of our world. Ir David offers the simplest answer to those absurd academics (like Nadia Abu El Haj of Columbia University) who claim that Jews have no historic roots here in Israel. They can rewrite history, but the stones speak and we listen; the land opens itself and proves them to be fools. After the visit today, my daughter’s school took them a few short minutes walk to the Western Wall, a most amazing place, and allowed the girls to say the afternoon prayers there.

My daughter is a most amazing child – though I know most mothers will (should) say the same thing. She called me a short time ago to tell me about her trip. She explained that she took her wallet along with her for some reason and then, when she was there, she was approached by many people asking for money. It isn’t allowed, and yet it happens.

People come and ask for money for their children, for food, for clothes, for brides. There are as many reasons as there are people and it is sadly almost impossible to go there without someone asking for money. Most are legitimate, some are not. All accept a polite refusal. They are merely asking. An adult can decide; a child rarely can say no. When we go as a family, I often give Aliza a few coins and let her distribute them. I never realized that she would remember; that she would think to do it on her own, with her own money.

In the eyes of a child, a needy person is always taken seriously and so she gave to several people. What impressed me was her ability to describe each person, what they were wearing. Their clothes looked shabby (my word, not hers) and this was enough proof. They needed her money, and she gave. There is such innocence there. She gave each a shekel (worth about 27 cents) but to a young child in Israel, it is the same as a dollar to a child in America. It is a unit of currency and so she gave to each who asked her; even gave two to someone she felt was especially needy.

She also told me that she approached the Western Wall (the Kotel) and prayed there and then “I kissed the Wall.” The Wall is precious to the Jewish people. It is all we have left of the Holy Temple. It is, in fact, only the outer retaining wall, not even really part of the amazing structure that was once there.

A few days ago, Palestinians released a statement saying that the Western Wall belongs to Muslims, was an integral part of their mosque and they refute any Jewish claims to the Wall. It is a stupid and baseless statement, easily proven false. History shows them to be liars and fools.

I have never seen a 10 year old Palestinian child walk up to the Wall and kiss it (and yes, Arabs can approach the Wall, just as they have free access to the Temple Mount above. It is I who am limited. I can touch the Western Wall and say my prayers there, but I face immediate arrest if I were to dare to ascent to the Temple Mount and pray. I cannot even move my lips in silent prayer lest I offend the Arabs. The Israeli police will watch me, follow me, stop me.

I have never seen an Arab walk up to the Wall and kiss it – I have only seen references to their claim that this is where Mohammed tied his donkey. I have seen Arabs pray to Mecca, and in so doing, turn their backsides to this holy site; in contrast to millions of Jews who turn and face it three times a day; who come 24-hours a day to see, to touch, to pray, to kiss the last remnant we have of what was ours and what will be ours again.

Oh, that isn’t politically correct and in the Arab mind, it amounts to a declaration of war, a threat to their mosque. I do not know how it will happen or when.I do not know if it will be in my life time or in the distant future. I do not know if it will come about in violence or in peace, in destruction or reconstruction. I only know that I believe, with full and complete faith, that our Holy Temple will be rebuilt and simple physics suggests that two objects cannot occupy the same physical space and so the mosque will not be there.

But that is for the future, though we hope the future is less than a day away. For now, I concentrate on a child. A young girl, really, innocent in so many ways. Spiritual in her heart and so loving. She gave of her hard earned money today believing in her own way, she was making the world a better place, helping lives.

I hope that each of those who took the money today know how special that gift was, how important a kind deed she did. And beyond the charity she gave, she showed her love of this land and the holy places we have. She kissed a wall…have you ever kissed a wall?

So let me explain – she didn’t kiss A wall, she kissed The Wall, our Kotel, our Western Wall – a symbol, in the simplest of terms, for why her brothers wear the uniform they do and why they serve, as she did today, with love of God, of land, of country.

So yes, today my heart sings with the special pride of a mother – for my sons, but also for my daughters. May they be blessed with health and special, wonderful things to come!


  1. ASM,

    I think you’ll find that our prophets have already sketched out how the space will be made available for the Temple to be rebuilt. There is a prophecy of a severe earthquake splitting the Mount of Olives in two – and prophecies that the world will then realise that the Temple has to be on its foundation (the foundation of the world) as a house of prayer for all nations.

  2. Paula,

    I often read posts like this with a sense of ignorant frustration. I’m not a Jew (although I am learning more and more about Judaism through this blog and Robert Avrech’s “Seraphic Secret” blog) and I am not an Israeli (although I am a Zionist). I read and I (try to) learn.

    Perhaps what is most upsetting thing (to me) in this post is the reference to Professor Nadia Abu El Haj of Columbia. That she received tenure based on such a preposterous book is almost laughable –if it weren’t so disturbing! As I did some more reading on the subject, it seems she blames Europe for the existence of Israel. It seems Europe (with its sense of nationalism) finally managed to answer the “Jewish problem” by pushing the Jews to the periphery of the colonial British Empire. Who knew….

    Apparently the Europeans pushed the Jews to Palestine in anticipation that the Arab “heathens” would soon annihilate them. It just never seems to work out right for the poor anti-Semitics, does it?

    I don’t know who’s the bigger fool; the professor for believing this crap, or the University who gave her tenure.

  3. I was very involved in the fight against her tenure a few years ago, believing that she simply had not met the most basic criteria for tenure, never mind bringing any real value to Columbia.

    Yes, “Professor” Nadia Abu El-Haj crosses all lines. She suggests that since there were Jews and Romans in Jerusalem at the time it was burned and destroyed in 70 CE, there’s a 50-50 chance it was the Jews themselves that burned Jerusalem and not the Romans.

    Her premise is, as you say, that Europe used the poor Palestinians as scapegoats, bringing in those foreign Jews.

    Nadia Abu El Haj turns a blind eye to reality, to history, to the very evidence the land gives to us almost daily as more and more proof of our connection – physical connection, to this land is unearthed.

    It is to Columbia’s great shame that they gave her tenure, but sadly, what would you expect from an institution that honored Ahmadinejad as a guest speaker!

    Thanks, as always, for your comments and for coming back here again and again to read!

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