Giyus Diaries: ZZZZahal

The IDF has an army-wide policy that soldiers have the right to six hours of sleep on any given night. After a long and tiring day of basic training, every moment is precious. We sleep in large fifteen-person tents on low cots. There is around 12 inches of space between your head and the head of the soldier sleeping next to you. The following is what transpired during one night last week:

11:00 PM: Time to finally get some good rest. Goodnight world!

11:02 PM: The soldier on my left is snoring as loud as a Jumbo-Jet. Just a reminder that his head is around 12 inches away from mine. I can’t fall asleep. Have you ever tried to fall asleep on a tarmac?

12:37 AM: A brisk breeze picks up outside. Normally such a breeze would go unnoticed, but when sleeping in a tent made up of canvas flaps and leather straps, it sounds like the stuttering rifles rapid rattle at the shooting range.

1:53 AM: Jumbo-Jet unleashes a sneeze so powerful that the UN immediately condemns the IDF for suspected usage of WMD. Have I mentioned that his head is 12 inches from mine?

3:04 AM: I am having a nightmare that a cat has crawled in to my sleeping bag and snuggled up next to me. I try to wake up from this terrible dream.

3:05 AM: I am awake, but the cat is still there. It is nestled on my right knee, and I can trace the shape of its ears from the outside of my sleeping bag. I try to nudge it awake, but she must have been very tired. I try nudging slightly more violently, but the cat is still in its slumber. I slide myself out of my sleeping bag, and then turned the sleeping bag upside down, causing the cat to fall to the floor of the tent with a soft thud. This finally wakes the cat up, but she is not so keen on being evicted from her place of residence. She tries to climb back on to my cot, but I fend her off. She makes one more efforts to mount the cot, but I push her off once again.

3:09 AM: Dejected, the cat climbs onto the bed next to me, and cuddles up next to Jumbo-Jet. I am slightly too tired to be shocked by what just happened, so I drift back to sleep, with only 100 minutes left until wake-up.

About the Author
Yaakov Wolff is a soldier in the IDF. He made Aliyah from Boston to Beit Shemesh in 2007. Before joining the army he studied in Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh. He holds a degree in Middle East Studies from Bar-Ilan University.
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