I made Aliyah when my son, Sadok, was nine. Many of my friends asked how I could do so knowing he’d have to join the army and risk his life. My firstborn, my pride, my joy, my only son at the time. It was not an easy thing to do. No Jewish mother wants to put their child in harms way. That being said, it was never something I let influence my decision. Israel is our country. A place the Jewish people need and depend on. A place I love and feel a special allegiance to that runs deeper than roots. I moved to live in the home of my beloved, my savior, my rock and my salvation. Living in Israel is a spiritual romance of which I dreamed of my entire life. In addition, how could I ask of any other Jew to do what I myself was not willing to do?
Ten years after our Aliyah, Sadok entered the army. I felt a pride I never knew before mixed with a pain in my chest and lump in my throat that seems perpetual. Sadok has been serving for a year and four months. It hasn’t been easy. He served in Gaza throughout Tzok Eitan battling the evils of Hamas. He is currently on the Syrian border with all its madness and so yet again I wait for his phone calls to hear that he is ok.
Most parents breathe a sigh of relief when their sons are on the way home for Shabbat. Not me. Although Gaza and Syria are frightfully dangerous at least my son is well trained and backed by by Israel’s finest. When he gets released from base and is on his way home he becomes a new kind of target. A soldier with his guard down, exhausted with a 6, 7 hour trip home. Most likely he will fall asleep on one of those buses and I think of Eden Atias, the 18 year old soldier stabbed to death on the bus. I think of Almog Shiloni, the soldier recently stabbed in Tel Aviv. I know there are a gazillion people who travel on the bus and the train and are concerned for their safety. I have five other children I worry about as well. However, I know that Sadok, adorned in his uniform and under slept is a target all too desirable for the terrorist. The uniform that protects our country is the same uniform that incites hatred and violence. From the time he leaves base till the time he walks through the door, I pray.
Please G-d, do not blink. Do not look away from my child. Let him come home to me. As I pray, the many faces of those whose lives have been brutally taken flow through my mind. Some were soldiers, some civilians. We are all a target now. We face terror everyday. It resonates in the eyes of our enemies, in their words, in their songs and in their open death wish.
When he finally walks through the door, I exhale and thank G-d for today and then I pray for tomorrow.