“Mommy, put down your iPad and cuddle with me,” my four year old whines this morning in the sukkah.
I hear him. And I certainly get what he’s saying. But I can’t. I can’t get away from the images swarming in my head, from the images that didn’t stop all night long, of Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin driving with their four children. Driving from dinner, driving home to tuck the kids into bed, driving because we drive and we have the right to drive and why the hell shouldn’t they be driving, only to be gunned down in front of their children on a road in Israel.
I have a four year old. I have a seven year old. I have a nine year old.
As I pull myself away from the iPad, because of course when your beautiful four year old tells you to get the hell off of your electronics and just focus on them – you do it.
But my head is swimming with images of this couple. Of the beauty of the wife. Of the heritage from which they come. Of the children, dear Gd, the children, and what they must have heard and seen last night on that road.
Then the government tries to reassure us that they are sending soldiers into the Arab villages to find the murderers. ‘Good, go get them, we all think’ …but when they say this, I think of my friend’s gorgeous son, a soldier whose task it is to go into hostile villages to find murderers. And I’m not reassured. Rather, I’m furious. As the murder of two puts into motion a situation where our boys – our glorious, beautiful boys – are forced into treacherous, hostile situations. And I know, as we wait for news about the capture of the murderers, that we are putting the lives of our sons at risk for this capture.
I hug Yakir in the sukkah, in the sukkah where we are commanded to be happy and to bring the joy of light and festivity into our fragile temporary structure. And I hug him as if my life depends on it because right now it really does. And I wonder, with tears streaming down my face, who will hug Naama’s four year old this morning. And who will gather him into their arms and tell him that it’s going to be alright, when it’s not going to be alright because it will never be alright again.
Nothing can wash away the blood he saw and the screams he heard and the abandonment that he has now experienced. The status of ‘orphan’ that he has now adopted along with so many other Israeli children whose crime is that they are Jewish. They are Israeli. They are alive. Period.
I turn off the iPad, but it doesn’t turn off the noise in my head. The noise continues as I think about my four year old, my 7 year old, my 9 year old...
And their baby – their baby who probably needs to nurse. Who needs his mom more than anyone else right now. And who needs his milk.
I wonder, as I lay there cuddling with and loving Yakir, who is going to help Rabbi Eitam and Naama’s four year old. And who is going to cuddle with him in the morning light tomorrow, and the day after.
And I cry.