My Son, the Soldier
A Guest Post by Malke
Warning: This post is in excess of the daily recommended allowance of sentimentality. For lighter fare, might I recommend one of Mrs. S’s famous Heblish posts.
My oldest son started his army service today, in a combat engineering unit. Every little boy’s dream - to blow things up.
You raise them for 18, 19, 20 years, and then suddenly, they “belong” to someone else. I guess it’s good practice for when they get married, except hopefully their wives are nicer to them than their officers.
You know how every new mother thinks she’s the first one in the world to give birth? That's how I feel… like I am the first mother to ever send her son off to the army. Proud, scared, emotional, probably boring everyone silly with all my talking about it. Without the background of a husband, father or brother who already did this, it’s all so new and unknown, which somewhat adds to the stress.
Luckily, though, I have the support of my Israeli friends and colleagues. Yeah, like the guy from my work who said to me, “Don’t worry, Malke. They don’t die in combat engineering; they just lose an arm or a leg here and there.”
Before they left, the yeshivat hesder where he learns made the boys a party. On the invitation was written: שהחינו וקיימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה [“He Who has given us life and sustained us and brought us to this hour” – from the Shehechiyanu blessing]. It seemed such an odd phrase for this occasion. And yet, in a way, it is true. My son has the incredible privilege of being able to serve his country and his people.
And yet, I’m such a big shot with all my Zionist ideals. Last night it hit me all of a sudden that this is real - and can be dangerous.
This morning was rather anti-climactic. You bring them to the gate, and then you have to leave. It feels like dropping them off to go to camp or something. Now, I guess, it’s all about waiting - to hear from them, to see them - none of which I have too much control over.
May Hashem keep him and all the other new and old recruits safe.
Amen, and thanks, Malke, for your beautiful post! May you and all our readers have a wonderful new month.
“In Nissan they were redeemed, and in Nissan, they are destined to be redeemed.” (BT Rosh Hashanah 11b)
*If you’d like to write a guest post about the post-high-school stage, please contact me via the email address listed towards the top of the sidebar at the right.