Monday, August 13, 2012

Becoming a “real” Israeli

As many of you know, here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog), we’ve B”H reached a very significant milestone:

The first of the Shiputzim kids started his army service this week.

If I wasn’t busy shamelessly neglecting my blog, maybe I’d try to describe some of the different things I’m feeling right now. Thankfully, however, I don’t have to, because Guest Blogger Malke did just that in a beautiful guest post a couple of years ago.

Yet, nevertheless, there’s one thing I WOULD like to discuss.

You see, until now, I considered the first time I gave birth in Israel to be the moment that I had become a “real” Israeli.

But having a son in the IDF takes one’s, well, Israeliness (if that’s a word…) to a whole new level.

Because, IMHO, there’s something so poignantly, sweetly, intensely, and wonderfully Israeli about the whole thing.

It’s that on the Shabbat before OS (=Our Soldier) was inducted, he was called up to the Torah in shul and received a warm brachah (blessing) in the announcements after davening.

It’s that the army tries very hard to allow the new recruits to spend their first Shabbat as soldiers at home.

It’s that OS has been together with a number of the guys in his unit since first grade.

It’s that when we took OS to his giyus (induction), we met several friends and acquaintances, who were there dropping their own sons off. (In other words, we got some points)

It’s that one of the well-respected rabbis from OS’s hesder yeshiva came to the giyus to see his talmidim (students) off.

It’s that over the past few weeks, everyone – and by “everyone,” I mean family, friends, neighbors, the owner of the local makolet (supermarket), coworkers, the mailman, and anyone else you could possibly think of – gave OS (and us!) lots of helpful advice and heartfelt good wishes.

It’s that one of the things on OS’s list was extra army socks, but I had no idea where to purchase them. So we tried a nearby dry goods store, and sure enough, they had exactly what we were looking for.

It’s that the induction point boasts a food concession stand and a covered picnic area for all the families who come to drop off their children.

It’s that the army makes sure that the religious soldiers have enough time to daven three times a day, and that all the larger bases have fully-outfitted shuls – complete with a Sefer Torah, plenty of siddurim, and even a collection of seforim for learning.

It’s that OS made a point of taking a pocket Mishnah with him to the army.

It’s that the recruits’ commanders make home visits to check out where their soldiers live.

It’s that at the giyus, YZG was far from the only father lovingly giving his son a brachah.

It’s that before the giyus, OS’s yeshiva arranged a very special two-week-long pre-army program – to prepare the guys religiously, spiritually, halachically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically for their upcoming military service.

It’s that OS and his fellow Torah scholars/soldiers are deeply aware that it is both an honor and a responsibility to be serving and defending Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and Torat Yisrael.

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגַנָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, הָעוֹמְדִים עַל מִשְׁמַר אַרְצֵנוּ וְעָרֵי אֱלקינוּ מִגְּבוּל הַלְּבָנוֹן וְעַד מִדְבַּר מִצְרַיִם וּמִן הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל עַד לְבוֹא הָעֲרָבָה בַּיַּבָּשָׁה בָּאֲוִיר וּבַיָּם. יִתֵּן ה' אֶת אוֹיְבֵינוּ הַקָּמִים עָלֵינוּ נִגָּפִים לִפְנֵיהֶם. הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִשְׁמֹר וְיַצִּיל אֶת חַיָלֵינוּ מִכָּל צָרָה וְצוּקָה וּמִכָּל נֶגַע וּמַחְלָה וְיִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם. יַדְבֵּר שׂוֹנְאֵינוּ תַּחְתֵּיהֶם וִיעַטְרֵם בְּכֶתֶר יְשׁוּעָה וּבְעֲטֶרֶת נִצָּחוֹן. וִיקֻיַּם בָּהֶם הַכָּתוּב: כִּי ה' אֱלֹקיכֶם הַהֹלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם לְהִלָּחֵם לָכֶם עִם איבֵיכֶם לְהוֹשִׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם, וְנאמַר אָמֵן.

May Hashem watch over and protect OS, his friends, and all our soldiers and keep them all safe and sound.


  1. Wow! You are now officially more Israeli than I am :)
    Fantastic post! I wish YS (your soldier) an excellent army experience, both for him and for us!

  2. Toby - You are now officially more Israeli than I am
    Maybe, but you're probably still better at saying Hareshut Haleumit Livtichut Badrachim than I am... :-)

  3. how are you? yes i agree that having a son in the army makes you as officially israeli as youll probably ever get. i remember reading malkys post at the time (cant believe i didnt comment on it) which was about 2 months after my oldest went in (he now has 4 months to go) and saying YES! this is what i was looking for 2 months ago when i wanted to hear someone else expressing my feelings. and 2 yrs after malkys post my second son went into handasa kravit too. (they have the best black homour) anyway looking forward to many army posts, my wisest piece of advice is that every unit is different so dont believe anyone when they give you advice, esp if its more then a day old (btw there are alot of older olim who have a trauma of not bringing food to ceremonies, apparently a generation ago everyone brought a huge picnic lunch (think tailgate parties - or a morrocan family in the park on yom haatzmaut) and the dumb americans brought coke and chips or something, but that is not accurate of the current situation) happy to commiserate with you offline if your interested. good luck and may hashem watch over all of our precious soldiers.

  4. Hi, I am a semi regular lurker and just wanted to wish you she'yelech b'shalom v'yachzor beshalom. I also wanted to remind you that now is the time for the chocolate chip blondies that I made for my soldier's tironut. They are still legendary and I always give credit.Shabbat Shalom.

  5. Faith/Emuna - Thank you for your comment and the excellent advice! And I definitely will take you up on your offer...

    Anonymous - LOL! And in fact, when Our Soldier arrived home this morning, we had a batch of chocolate swirl blondies waiting for him to take back to his base after Shabbat IY"H... :-)

    1. Mrs. S, if you ask him, I'm sure that he'll tell you that his friends and him inhaled them within "shloshim shniot" of the time allowed for munchies. May his time pass as quietly as possible for you both.

    2. Anonymous - Yup! As you predicted, he said that the squares were a huge hit... :-)

  6. Faith/Emuna-thanks for the kind words about my post. just a comment aboutthe food bringing aspect of the ceremonies-at one of them, one of the mothers (probably Moroccan, but could have just as easily been Polish :-))had made about 50 meat sandwiches and was walking around giving them to all the other soldiers, exhorting them to eat,one of those "only in Israel" moments

  7. Mazal tov! Hashem should bless and protect your son and all his colleagues in all their endeavors. Rav Tzvi Yehudah Hacohen Kook compared the Tzahal uniform to the bigdei kehunah. It was a notion he expected to take very seriously. Every moment in that uniform your son is משמש בקדש. May that merit serve you all!

    That pocket mishnah will serve him well. My mishnayot were always in the pocket of my dagmachim. Every time there was a cigarette break, I learned another mishnah. I was amazed how many masechtot I covered in the army and miluim.

    1. Mordechai Y. Scher - Amen, and thank you for your beautiful comment!


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