Yom HaZikaron L'Chalalei M'archot Yisrael UlNifga'ei Peulot Ha'Eiva
Memorial Day for Israel's War Fallen and Victims of Terror
At night and then, again, during the morning, a siren rings throughout the country. Jews, from all walks of life, stop what they are doing, to stand in silence and respect; to grieve the loss of life from wars and terrorism.
Last night, I sat with my son and youngest daughter, to assist them in resolving a dispute. I was trying to guide them in reflective listening, so that they would understand each other and, hopefully, arrive at a place where they would want to work things out.
In the middle of our deliberations, the siren rang. We stopped and stood. As the siren rang, I glanced over at my children. I saw my son, standing with his head bent down, his baseball cap shielding his eyes from sight. I saw my daughter, also with head bent, and hands folded gently across her stomach.
Just minutes before, they were aggressive, each intent on stating his/her case; each convinced of his/her own justifications.
Then, the siren -- unifying the nation, unifying the siblings. Making the bickering seem so irrelevant.
We did not return to our discussion. The conflict will wait. Resolution will come another day.
This morning, I was home alone, alternating between doing things that need to be done and reading what bloggers have to say about Yom HaZikaron.
The siren rang, and I thought: I am alone. No one will know if I stand or not.
My back hurt. My ankles hurt.
I stood anyway. Not willing to be disconnected from Am Yisrael (the Jewish people), even in the privacy of my own home.
Almost 13 years ago, our good friend, Danny Frei, HY"D, was murdered in his home by an Arab terrorist. Danny's death, which is remembered today, on Yom HaZikaron, was a direct result of inviting and financing terrorists to come into our country and take over our land.
Just a few months earlier, the PLO was considered an enemy of the Jewish people because of its charter to destroy the State of Israel, and its dedication to terrorism and the murder of Jews. Thanks to Oslo (initiated by then Foreign Minister, President Shimon Peres, and implemented by the late Prime Minister, Yitzchak Rabin), the PLO, led by Yasser Arafat, was invited to live in Israel. The PLO immediately began murdering any and all Arabs who cooperated (in the past or present) with Israel.
The Arab who murdered Danny explained that he murdered him, and attempted to murder his wife (who, miraculously, survived multiple knife wounds), in order to prove that he was not a "collaborator" with Israel.
In the "old days", the Israeli government would have established a new Yishuv (Jewish settlement), as a deterrent to further attacks. These days, the corrupt Israeli government threatens to destroy the small yishuv, Mitzpeh Dani, that a small group of committed Jews established in Danny's memory.
Danny was a devoted husband, father, son and Jew. He dedicated much of his time to Jewish education and communal activism. A charismatic leader, he inspired and motivated others to be involved. The world is a lesser place without him.
Danny's final act on this earth was to bravely save the life of his wife. Though mortally wounded already, Danny jumped the Arab terrorist, who was stabbing Danny's wife. Danny's last words were "Run, M, run..." His wife fled the house and banged on their neighbors' door, before collapsing from blood loss. Danny's efforts were not in vain. Though their unborn child did not survive, his widow and daughter are alive and well today.
What made Danny special was not how he died, but how he lived. He was a forceful and dynamic young man. Everything he did, he did with joy and laughter. The last time I saw Danny, was at a Zo Artzeinu demonstration, spray painting yellow footprints on the street. I have long since forgotten the significance of the yellow footprints, but I will never forget his face that day, with his typical boyish grin, the mischievous gleam in his eye, and his contagious smile. "Come on!" he called to us, as he disappeared into the distance. We were walking too slowly, and he had no time to waste.
Our son is named in memory of our dear friend.
Today is a day, set aside, to remember Danny and all the others who were killed in battle and by terrorists.
Y'hi Zichram Baruch (May their memories be a blessing)
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,