Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Letter From the Neighbor

On Wednesday, the doctors let us take Adi home for a few hours before returning to the hopsital for chag. In the army, a break like this is called an "after." It's a treat given to soldiers for good behavior -- go enjoy yourself for a few hours, then come back to base.

When we left for our after, I got a text from a friend that someone had written a letter to me in our community newspaper. An hour or so later, another friend brought me a copy.

Here's the translation (any errors are mine):

Letter sent to the newsletter's email, without identifying details, without the sender's name, and without a name and address. A letter -- from all of us.

Dear A,

We don't really know each other yet. We've spoken, and you seem very nice. I understand that you will be among our new neighbors, in our new neighborhood, and I want and look forward to us being friends. 

On Erev Yom Kippur, we heard the news, that you son, so special, is apparently sick with "the disease." [note from Abbi: Israelis are absolutely incapable of saying the word "cancer." Instead they say "the disease."] In the message I received, I was asked not to call. Truthfully, even if I had called, I'm not sure I would have known what to say. I'm sure that you would have immediately found the right words and spoken freely, but it seems incredibly difficult to me. 

Your friends from the neighboring community, where you lived before you moved to your new home in our new neighborhood, told me that in the short time you lived there, everyone knew you. Your smile, your optimism, and even when times were hard and you complained, you did so with a smile. Not for nothing did your family capture people's hearts. 

There, too, I realized on Erev Yom Kippur, the rumor spread, and there, too, everyone talked about it all throughout the holiday -- how they wanted, and planned to help, to support, to be by your family's side. At the start of Yom Kippur, I allowed myself to challenge "the heavens." It's so unfair, the thought of this "news" arriving now, of all times, when finally things were falling into place for you. When your family moved into your new house, to your new community, when your husband is finally here in Israel and not traveling so much, when your oldest daughter is finally settled and has accepted the fact that you live in Israel, why now should HK"B* single you out for this additional test? This test, which I know you will pass, healthier, stronger, and surrounded by love and warmth from everyone around you.

These times are times that demand strength, and strength comes from faith. It's not a coincidence that He in the heaves sent us, through His intermediaries, this terrible news just moments before the start of the fast. This news was our personal shofar blast, a blast that called us each to gather our strength and to pray for our friends and neighbors, before we even prayed for ourselves. 

HK"B loves your family, I told myself, as the hours of the fast went by. He tests you frequently -- and there's a reason for that. It is known that HK"B tests those to whom he has given the strength to pass the test. Your experiences these last few years, coming to Israel, the times your husband traveled so much, dealing with your children and each of their unique issues, it's as if these all prepared you to handle this new challenge. This challenge that your family will get through together, while we around you stand ready to support you, to hold you up, to love you. 

This period, until we make it through this challenge, will be a test for all of us, to come together, to become a true community of friends who know how to offer help when it is needed, and to know how to walk with you every step of the way on this path to a full and speedy recovery. 

May we all be written and sealed immediately for a good, long, healthy life, and for peace.

The Neighbor

*HK"B= HaKadosh Baruch Hu = The Holy One, Blessed Be He (or, as He's more commonly called, God). 


Ayala said...

Beautiful. Abbi, we are thinking of all of you every day.