Every year I attend the Yom HaZicharon tekes at our Yad L’Banim in Ra’anana. 18 years of standing (I don’t think that I ever got there early enough to find a seat) in a crowd that boasted more/less 10,000 people from all walks of life, most wearing white shirts and blue trousers or skirts, standing at attention with bowed heads when the siren goes off at exactly 8:00 PM. I always listen to the speeches with intrigue, sorrow and I try to relate to someone I never even knew.
Just over a month ago, our son #3, Motti, join the Kfir brigaides in the Duchifat unit. He’s in training, a tiran, they call him. Penina and I really haven’t gotten used to it yet. Although he’s our #3, he’s our first son in the IDF as his older brothers had medical exemptions. So, suffice it to say, we are very new to this. The terminologies (most of the IDF jargon is in abbreviations) what to expect, etc. We’re learning day by day. The fact that he has to answer to the IDF and not us right now does not sit well with either of us. On the other hand, our insides still tingle when we see him in an IDF uniform. The day he returned home from his first day on base, Penina and I were waiting outside our home, phones on “camera mode”, giggling like two grade school kids at Disney World in a huge candy shop. I don’t care how biased and corny I sound. He looks awesome and gorgeous.
However, being that today is Yom HaZicharon, this reality takes on a different character. My son is in an intense combat unit. Although he is in training, less than a year from now, after his “tekes kumta” (beret ceremony), he will be on active duty, and that’s when I’ll be upping my blood pressure medications dosage. He’s a strong and talented boy, GD bless him. Believe me, they won’t have him sitting by a computer analyzing maps or translating from Arabic into Hebrew. My pride and my fears are in a wrestling match, and I cannot help but wonder and at the same time, I want to smack myself for wondering. Yes, the ever-haunting “what if ?” question lurks in the background from time to time, like today for instance.
At the end of the day, the pride I feel for my son is wholesome and great. My insides tingle and I smile to myself when I see the kids that he and his brothers grew up with in uniform, representing a side of the Jewish people that one never sees anyplace else. To paraphrase Arthur Miller, they’re all our sons. They’re all our daughters. And thank GD almighty, my beautiful son is amongst them, may he serve valiently.
May GD protect and safeguard all of our precious, beloved and holy chayalim.