February 27, 2004
Too Close for Comfort
(IsraelNN.com) 2001 - Dr. Mordehai Shefer, 56, of Kfar Saba, was shot to death in an orchard of Moshav Hagor.
1996 - Flora Yechiel was killed when an Arab drove his vehicle onto the sidewalk at the “Trampiada” hitchhiking post in Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood. The terrorist was shot dead.
Generally, I force myself to avoid these announcements in the news digest I read daily. They’re depressing, always about death, murder, terrorism. Unfortunately, this time I failed; it somehow caught my eye. You may not know it, but seconds before the terrorist rammed his car into Flora Yechiel, HaYa”D, he drove it over my left foot and knocked me down.
I try not to think about it. Even though I have a great memory for birthdays and yartzeits, it’s a date I had never managed to learn. I do remember that it happened before Purim, before Shabbat Zachor, when we are commanded to remember what Amalek did to us. Maybe I’ve been sinning these eight years. I should remember what happened to Flora, whom I didn’t know, and what happened to the more than twenty more seriously injured than myself, and I should remember how traumatized all those children and adults who saw the attack were and in some ways still are.
I remember noticing a badly driven car approaching, but I didn’t think he’d mount the sidewalk and run over us. I turned my back on it and planned on telling a neighbor that “Even if he’s going to Shiloh, we’re not getting in.” She looked up and then saw him ram into me and I was knocked down. She was unharmed, as he had turned sharp left on my foot and mowed down people the length of the sidewalk. I was still on the ground when I suddenly heard shooting.
I was confused. It was hard to realize what had happened. I knew that I should be afraid of the shooting, but I wasn’t. Afterwards I found out that some hesder yeshiva (a yeshiva that combines army service with Torah learning) boys studying in Shiloh shot the terrorist with their pistols as he exited his murder weapon, his car. Then there was silence, the silence that everyone mentions. There’s a shocked, numbed silence after a terror attack. Literally like the earth standing still, stunned and horrified by the barbarity of humans. At first no one even screams; there are neither moans nor cries. Just silence, painful, dead silence.
Then the wonderful people began to move around trying to help the wounded in body and spirit. And there were cries of warning: “Quick! Escape! The car may blow up!!!!!” My friend helped me up, and we ran.
I had no idea that other neighbors, much better people than myself, were hysterically searching for me among all the injured females, immobilized on the bloody sidewalk.
And now, eight years later, I finally check the Jewish/general calendar on my computer and discover the Hebrew date, the date my life was saved. February 26, 1996, was the 6th of Adar, my Aunt Sadie’s yartzeit. Now, I won’t forget the date.
And I haven’t forgotten that Amalek is still alive, still attacking and murdering us. Our first King, Saul, was commanded to kill him, his family and his livestock. He disobeyed G-d, thinking that his interpretation of “mercy” was more moral than that of G-d. For that sin, he lost his kingship. For that sin, we’re still paying. The terrorists are Amalek’s descendents. We will never know true peace until they are destroyed.
Chag Purim Sameach,
Batya Medad, Shiloh