Last night there was a shiur (a lesson about the Torah) given at a friend’s house. I wanted to go to it, but I got caught up in work and couldn’t get away. I understood, afterwards, that the basic message of the lecture was about enjoying daily life, learning to appreciate the little things in life, and learning to see everyday as a joy even if it’s not a holiday or another reason to celebrate.
Unfortunately, Hashem decided to allow me to learn this lesson, as well, last night.
But in a very different way.
When Josh and I both finished our work at about 9:30, we went out for a walk. While walking up the big hill in the new area of the neighborhood, I even said to him, “Oh look honey. There’s the shiur happening that I had wanted to attend.”
As they were learning about appreciating life, we continued our walk.
We were debating some of the details of Matan’s bar mitzvah and I was wrapped up in finding just the right answers.
Suddenly, a man that we know came running up to us saying that he needed to use our phone. That there was someone…on the ground…injured…dead…he didn’t know..it was someone from the chevre…from the neighborhood.
And the lesson began.
I turned to Josh in a panic and said, “Oh dear Gd, Josh. Who is it?” It could be anyone. Someone that we knew was out there, alone, and hurt.
We called for backup, for an ambulance and for the army and then we rushed back to find him, to help, to what? I stood back, shaking, and praying. Praying that he was alive. Praying that he should breathe again since I had already heard the words “no pulse,” “no heartbeat.” Praying and praying.
I heard snippets. “He’s young. He’s someone’s kid.”
And I thought to Hashem, “Oh Gd, please don’t let him be…”
And then I stopped. Please don’t let him be WHO? Please don’t let him be the son of one of my friends? Please don’t let him be the son of one of my community members? Please don’t let him be…………
There was nothing left. He was certainly going to be the son of one of my friends and was certainly going to be the son of a community member. There was nothing to pray for in this realm. Because I count everyone in the community as a friend, as part of our family.
We still didn’t know who it was.
But I pictured his mom and his dad. They were sitting at home eating…arguing...dancing…painting…paying bills…talking on the phone…giggling…menu planning…cooking…cleaning up…reminiscing…yelling…showering…
They were going about their regular lives, completely unaware that the course of their entire future was about to change – that it had already changed.
Then a family name was spoken. I don’t know if there exists a stranger feeling than I experienced. I knew something that I had absolutely no right to know.
His family was eatingarguingdancingpaintingpaying billstalkingonthephonegigglingmenu planningcookingcleaning upreminiscingyellingshowering.
And I was with their son who had just died.
They did not yet know that their entire life had already changed. The change had occurred. It was over.
I looked out over the yishuv and pictured people in every house in the entire community who were eatingarguingdancingpaintingpaying billstalkingonthephonegigglingmenu planningcookingcleaning upreminiscingyellingshowering, people who didn’t yet know that we had lost one of our own. A part of our body.
And within that noise, within that mass of people going about their business and continuing with their regular lives at 10:14 pm was his family.
They were in a space of time where the course of their lives had already altered without their knowledge.
I prayed that they should be given the strength to get through this incredible tragedy. That they should be able to continue on.
We left, walking home in silence.
And I told Josh that the bar mitzvah would be beautiful no matter how it played out as long as we were all there, healthy. The details? Who cared.
And I went home and checked on each of my beautiful sleeping boys.
And I watched their chests rise and fall with each breath.
With tears streaming down my face, I kissed their cheeks and vowed to try to learn the lesson.
And I prayed that the Lubitch family's last moments with their son, Eliyashiv Lubitch, zt"l, were full of joy and wonder; happiness and beauty. And that his memory should be for a blessing, always.
For another perspective on this difficult day, see