Dear Dafna a”h,
I don’t know your favorite color. I don’t know your favorite food. I don’t know how Natan proposed to you, although I do know it was a very short engagement. I don’t know what music you like, how you knew such good English, or if you liked candy or pastries more on a day you needed a treat.
I don’t know how you fought with the 15-year-old devil, I don’t know your last thoughts and I don’t know your last prayer as you bled to death in your own home.
But I do know that you wrote prayers. I know you spoke out your feelings and thoughts in blogs and on social media.
I know you were 39, that you were adopted and had no family before your adopted parents took you in. I know you have four biological kids and two adopted children too. I know you took those two foster brothers into your home to pay forward the kindness your parents bestowed on you. I know you told Natan, your beloved husband, the only agreement you needed before you married was that you would adopt, no matter how many kids you had.
I know you were organized, that you got more done in 24 hours than a normal human being, and that you knew how to divide your time between self, work, kids, husband and community.
I know you were a Tahara Bodeket and that you helped women with nidda issues, fertility problems and challenges in regards to sexuality. I know you felt deeply for women and their struggles.
I know you worked 50 hours a week in Soroka Hospital down south. I know you were studying Arabic to better communicate with your Arab patients. I know many nights you couldn’t sleep reliving the horrific scenes you saw in your shift that day.
I know you felt like a messenger in your work simply being the shaliach of G-d’s healing hands; as eloquently said in the prayer you wrote for nurses to say before a shift.
I know the community you lived in, what you’re insane commute was like, the names and ages of your kids, and who your adopted parents are.
I know you were very upset about the situation now in Israel and that you spoke openly about it, living in a yishuv near Chevron. I know what a neshama you were, how many friends you had, how much you loved your Jewish brothers and sisters.
I know you were bathing your kids that evening and that you fought like “a lioness protecting her cubs” to make sure the villain didn’t enter your home.
I know your family is stricken with pain. I know your community does not know how to bear this. I know that Israel mourns your death and the only thing to do now, is celebrate the life you lived.
I never met you, but I feel like I know you. I feel like we could have taken long walks together and spoken about Emunah, Zionism, G-d’s love for us, and the pain that we humans endure. We could have talked about our difficult childhoods, how to prioritize and organize life tasks, how hard it is to raise kids while working full time or how to give to ourselves as well. We would have been friends and I would have been in awe of you, as I am now.
But I never did meet you and instead I have had to get to know you through my Facebook feed and news articles and this feels like a one way relationship. I feel so close to you, I can almost touch you, I can feel you….you are my friend, my sister, my hero, my fellow Jew.
I ask you this Dafna. As you fought, with every last ounce of strength you could have possibly mustered, I am sure you said a prayer. I know as your eyes were shutting for the last time and as you felt the hot blood gushing from your body, you knew it was over. I know as you dropped down to the floor and saw Ranana your daughter screaming from the background, that you were already headed to another world.
So, now that you are there, Dafna, please go to our Creator, whom you are sitting next to, and whisper words into His ears. I know He can do anything but the ONLY thing G-d cannot do is experience humanity. Explain to Him what it is like to be a person in pain in this world. Explain our perspective, from down below. Explain to Him that without a G-d’s eye view, we are left as bodies with emotions and lots of questions, doubt and pain. Please tell Him that just as you lived life with His will on your lips and in your everyday actions, you died that way too. Tell Him that in your merit alone, we should see the redemption, an ending and a final vision of clarity.
I didn’t know you while you were alive. But now that you have gone to the next world, I know you and I know you are advocating for us.
Dafna, I treasure our strange one-way friendship and I will not forget you. Ever.