Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reb Aryeh, III

Seeing him suffering from infirmities of illness in old age, in those days, there was a man who sought to bolster his spirit by telling him, "Dear Rabbi, you have merited to see what others have no merited to behold. You have seen Jerusalem and its holy places freed from the clutches of a bitter enemy."

"Not I alone have merited to see it," replied Reb Aryeh. "Our entire generation is meritorious - for it has beheld more than the generations before us ever witnessed - even the generation of Moses our Master. All the miracles that were wrought for Moses, and for the generations after him, were unnatural occurrences. The miracles in our generation happen for us in a perfectly 'natural' way...."

This is taken from Simcha Raz's A Tzaddik in our Time.


On the way to Beit Knesset (synagogue) with the kids, Tals passed a few soldiers.  Nissim (4) told Tals, "They have guns."  My wife explained to him that they're soldiers, and that they use weapons to protect us.  She mentioned that Abba gets a gun when he on miluim (reserve duty). Tals isn't sure what he said next, but she's fairly certain the word 'kill' was mentioned.  She re-stressed that 'we' use guns to protect, and that was that.

When she let me know of the story, I was a bit shocked that he already knew that word.  Maybe he's heard it at gan?  Whatever it was, I explained to her that her explanation was the only possible one, 'protection.'  The conversation reminded me of a story in one of the earlier chapters in A Pslam in Jenin:

Doron's squad took up positions near the low sandbag walls of the tiny outpost. Someone's cell phone rang. It was Big Zvikah, the machine gunner.  In the confusion, he hadn't had time to turn it off. It was his six-year old son.

"Abba, waht's going on? Are those gunshots?"

"No caparah." No, my soul. "We're playing Pokeman War. You know, like the video games you play all the time. Listen." He held up the phone.

All of the soldiers int he tiny outpost had heard the conversation. They all had young children, and knew the sounds that emanated from their children's Pokemon video games.

"Pikachu lightning!" Doron called out.

"Pepper Strike!  Digimon Strike!" called out another soldier.

Doron drew his fingers across his throat in a signal to Big Zvikah. End the conversation. Enoguh is enough.

We live in a harsh reality. Our children will see pistols and assault rifles every week, be it on family members or complete strangers. How do we, as parents, find the balance when the children are young and only see weapons as 'cool'? At this tender age, I think my wife's attempt was the best a parent can do.