Carrying the burden because the Commanding Officer said so
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Cheryl looked at the boys in Orayta with whom she was sharing this story and said, pointing heaven-wards with her finger: “my Commanding Officer (G-d) has given me a great burden to carry. Hashem has, for some reason I will never comprehend, looked at me and said “Mendel: kach et hamag.” I was never trained nor was I prepared to carry this burden; but if your commanding officer says “Mendel Kach et haMag,” you take the Mag. So I am carrying this heavy burden and will, till my last day on earth carry the burden of having buried a son who fell in defense of Israel. It is not a burden I wanted to carry, and I would gladly give it up, but I will carry it, because that is what I believe my Commanding Officer is asking of me.”
For so many families in Israel who carry this painful burden, they will continue to struggle with it every day, and in every moment, long after the sounds of the Memorial Day sirens have faded into memory. And the rest of us, who can only stand in awe at the strength and courage of their silent, dignified conviction, owe it to them, and to all those who fell, to be there with them as best we can, and to never let, even for a moment, the tremendous sacrifice they make every day go unappreciated or forgotten.
Acharei-Mot-Kedoshim which, translated literally, means ‘after the death of the holy ones.’ After their sacrifice, we can only contemplate the portion you will read next week, which we in Israel will read this Shabbat: “Emor” which literally means to tell over: we must make sure to tell their stories and contemplate how we will make sure their sacrifices were not in vain.
Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem,
For those who would like to see photos and films of Benji Hillman and DanielMandel and learn more of their stories, as well as how to make a difference in the lives of the Hillman and Mandel families, you can visit www.benjihillman.org and http://daniel-mandel.co.il/ .
Rav Binny Freedman, Rosh Yeshivat Orayta in Jerusalem’s Old City is a Company Commander in the IDF reserves, and lives in Efrat with his wife Doreet and their four children. His weekly Internet ‘Parsha Bytes’ can be found at www.orayta.org