I began my day running mundane errands. I went to the post office, the bank, helped a neighbor deliver some food items to another neighbor in need, and then I realized it was time to stop. I had heard of a funeral for a local man who was a Commander in the IDF, Lt. Col. Dolev Keidar in our local Modiin Cemetery. I decided to go. I felt as if a magnet was drawing me there. I did not know the man, I had only read about his passing in the paper earlier in the morning. Yet, I felt that I had to go to his funeral.
The funeral was called for 5:00 pm. I left at 4:30, thinking that it would not take me long to get there. It is only 10 minutes from my home. Yet, as I entered the turn for the road that leads to the cemetery, it was a standstill. Hundreds of cars were inching towards the cemetery.
I saw that people were just parking on the sidewalk, and walking towards the cemetery, so I did the same. The walk is about 3 km., if not more. We all silently walked our way, in the blistering heat, up towards the funeral.
As I walked up, I thought to myself “This must be what it felt like walking up towards the Holy Temple. Thousands of people, silently walking towards a greater good.” Yet, I quickly snapped out of that dream and the reality hit me, as I saw everyone’s solemn faces. No, we were not walking up towards a Temple, we were walking up towards the funeral ceremony to remember one man’s holy life.
Dolev Keidar , a 38 year old man, was married, and had three young children. He was a Commander of the Geffen Battalion. He was killed by an anti-tank missile that was fired at the troops he had commanded.
There were many hespedim (eulogies). What truly stuck with me was the fact that one of his colleagues said that he can imagine Dolev looking at him with a slightly crooked smile, and saying “תהיה חזק ותמשיך הלה” That is, “Be strong, and keep moving forward!” His colleague said this was a life motto for Dolev, and that we must continue his work, and keep moving towards the goals of the current Operation Protective Shield, and towards a better good.
How many times have we been stagnant, listless, or anxiety stricken during this war that we ultimately feel paralyzed and inept. We can learn from Dolev’s passing, as well as the other soldiers who have recently been killed in battle. We need to learn to keep moving forward. We cannot stop, and we cannot show weakness.
At times, the push is the hardest part for us. Today, Dolev pushed me to a new understanding. In his merit, and in the merit of many other fallen soldiers, I will be strong, and push myself towards greater goals. No, I am not in the army, but I am a mother, a community volunteer, a teacher, and a person who can make a difference. I will keep moving forward. And, I hope many more will join me.
Picture of Dolev Keidar. May he rest in peace.