The Jewish mother, known for many things, has one fundamental quality – a ferocious love for her children. (This is also true of fathers; however the stereotype focuses on mothers.)
On Sunday a young mother and father were driving. Their beautiful two and a half year old daughter was in a car seat, in the back. So normal. So banal.
Suddenly the sirens began to wail. Immediately they knew – missiles were incoming. But how could they protect themselves? Protect their baby girl? There was no bomb shelter. They would have flung themselves out of the car and raced for cover in any building, had there been one nearby.
Cars that are hit by missiles (or even shrapnel) turn into death traps.
No other options, the young couple got out of their car and hit the ground. The missile was incoming and it was going to be close.
Nowhere to go and no way to protect their daughter, the young mother used her body to shield her child.
The missile exploded next to them. The parents were hit by shrapnel. Their daughter was unhurt. Indiscriminate violence was directed them, at their small child. Ferocious love kept her safe.
Revital Kasus-Ohayon also protected her children with her body. She was putting her boys to bed – 5 year old Matan and 4 year old Noam – when a terrorist broke into her home, spraying bullets.
There was nothing she could do but keep her children from seeing death come.
Revital grabbed her two boys, shoved them into the corner and put herself between them and the terrorist, staring down death.
The man who broke into her home saw a ferocious mother shielding two small boys with her body – and opened fire.
On one hand, the passionate love of this mother for her children. On the other, the heartlessness of a terrorist, a man, who could look at children with pacifiers in their mouths and pull the trigger. This happened ten years ago but is seared into my memory, a contrast I can never forget.
Many Holocaust survivors tell of how their parents, knowing the Nazis were coming to take them away, knowing they would never see each other again, hid their children, leaving them with one final message. The stories are different, the final message identical: “I love you. Grow up to be a good person.”
In the midst of horror these parents thought of one thing – good. Be a good person.
This is our history. This is our legacy.
When Israel is at her best the entire country runs on this type of ferocious love. Strangers become family and what happens to one effects all.
When Operation Pillar of Cloud began the people of Israel immediately began to act, to help each other.
People in the north opened their homes to southerners, inviting them to stay in their homes, as long as necessary, so they could be out of missile range. People who had never met before became family.
The first day of the operation, on the news at 11:30 pm a couple called in and told the host that they were supposed to get married the next day but could not because their town was under bombardment. The presenter turned to his guest, who happened to be the previous army spokesman and told him: “You know a lot of people. Find them a solution so they can get married tomorrow!” The host went on to other news stories. The ex-spokesman stayed on the show but no one asked him questions, he was on the phone. Within 15 minutes the ex-spokesman had arranged a wedding hall for the couple – in one of the most luxurious locations in the country.
These are just a few examples, there are many, many more.
In this time of moral relativism you could say that there is no black and white, no clear good or bad. I know otherwise. The world is not gray.
The Jewish mother and father and the family of Israel are proof.
“An age is called dark, not because the light fails to shine but because people refuse to see”