A regular Monday.

My wife took one kid to daycare, and I took the other.

Arrived at work at 9:00 o’clock and the usual routine begun.

Work. Lunch. Work some more.

The day was almost over. The phone rings.

Unknown number – I wonder what survey I’m needed to participate in this time.

“Hello, if you’re Avram Piha, press 1.”

Ah – the army checking up on their systems. I press 1.

“Please enter your ID number.”

Done, and now time to hang up…

“Please arrive at the address listed as soon as possible.”

Really? Now?

Talk about killing any plans I had for a relaxing evening. Time to go home, get my gear, say goodnight to the kids and then make my way to the meeting point.

I told my boss I was going, and took the bus home. I was home within forty-five minutes, and after a quick shower, I started getting dressed. As I laced up my boots, my wife and kids walked in. My two-year-old daughter came running into our room, “Abba, Shabbat shoes?”

I smiled, “No dear, they’re army shoes.”


Scooby? Is that you?

“Yup, rarmy shoes.”

As she exited, I got my bag and went into the living room. “Abba is a chayal (soldier),” my four year old proudly screamed. He’s seen me in uniform before, but this is the first time he’s associated his father with the word. It was a weird feeling.

Abba, the soldiers will hit and you will hit them harder in the milchama (war)?”

“Nah son, nothing like that.”

I changed the subject. I wasn’t comfortable talking about the subject – especially as ‘war’ to him is just a game he plays at his gan. I’m extremely proud I’ve had, and continue to have, the privilege of serving and defending this country. I do this not only because it’s my obligation, but because I want to. However, I want to keep this reality away from my children for as long as possible.

I hope there’s no need for this when you’re 18.

After a few hugs and kisses, I was out. A few hours later, I called my wife, “How are they? Sleeping?”

“They’re fine, but before your boy went to bed, he started crying and told me, ‘I want my Abba.’”

My heart ached. Does he really understand?

The drill ended, and I was on my way home. Before I went to bed at 3:30 am, I went to my children’s room. I looked at my sleeping angels, smiled and kissed them both good night.

I hope there’s no need for this when you’re 18.