Over the past few months, E. has been a regular member of the Kurdi beit knesset I pray at. When you see him, you can tell - unfortunately - that something is wrong. He's been through something. After wishing him 'Shabbat Shalom' a few weeks ago, a friend came over and said, "Do you know who that is?" Obviously I didn't, so he proceeded to tell me, "That's E. - he was the last 'casualty' of the hitnatkut." Curious as always, I asked for more information, "A terrorist attack resulted in tank fire, and a tank mortar exploded right next to him." My friend continued, "He was in a coma for months, and the doctors told his parents he'd never come out of it." I guess E. had something to say about that. He's married now, and while the trauma of what he went through will sadly always be visible, the man breathes, jokes and smiles.
E. has talked to me about that day. He's quite a character, a man who's will to live pushed him through hell. I guess that just as one can actually get to hell, one can also come back out. I know I won't be looking at him the same way again.