Zchut Achim – In the Merit of the Brothers

There is a concept in Judaism – Zchut Avot – in the merits of the fathers. When we pray for something we need or want but worry that God may not find us worthy, we call upon the merits of the fathers. If not for me, than please – for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…for Sarah, Rivkah, Leah and Rachel.

Personally, I prefer to stand on my own merit – or what there is of it, but there have been times that I have begged to God and asked Him – if not for me…

I’ve been wondering about the blog now that I don’t really have any soldiers in active duty. My son-in-law is in the army, stationed at a base on the top of a mountain. His position is one that will help him with his future direction in video editing. He’s very talented. But it isn’t a combat position and doesn’t involve “action” as such. I don’t want this to be a purely political blog.

I have an army-thing with Shmulik, which I’ll post soon, but this one is more about Davidi. He turns 16 soon. I started this blog six weeks before Elie went into the army. I guess I’ve sort of made the decision to continue this blog and in doing so, I want to begin introducing Davidi because already decisions he is making shape his future interests and at some point in the next year or so, the army will reach out to him and begin the process. He won’t formally receive a draft request for some time, but the talks will begin in school and among his friends.

It is the Hanuka vacation and Davidi is doing something that his older sister, Elie and Shmulik all did – he is taking a first aid course that trains him to volunteer with the local ambulance squad. Eighty kids from our city asked to be included in the course; only 25 were accepted. Of the ones who were rejected, Davidi knows two.

“Why were they rejected?” I asked him.

Well, one goes to school far away and so will likely not be available to volunteer on a regular basis. “And the second?”

Well, during the interview, they asked him why he wanted to join and his answer was, “because I like blood.” Yes, I can see why they turned him down, I answered with a laugh. Then I asked Davidi what he had answered. “I told him that my brothers had all taken the course and I wanted to volunteer as well.”

They asked him who his brothers were; one remembers my oldest daughter taking the courses and volunteering. Davidi was accepted. He comes home telling me all sorts of medical things – how to help a baby breathe; how to hold a baby when giving it medical care, etc. “Just don’t try that on the baby,” I told him as we waited for his sister to come visit with her infant for the weekend.

In the merit of his brothers and likely on his own account, Davidi has chosen to spend his winter vacation taking this course – every day, for the entire vacation (and even tonight, Saturday night), he’ll spend his time learning how to save lives, how to help others.

The ambulance squad trains them to think of safety first; they are taught that an injured volunteer just means more people to treat. They do not run into buildings that are on fire, nor are they supposed to enter areas that might be dangerous unless they have an army escort.

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