Friday, September 30, 2005

Two Years Since Avihu Keinan, HaYa"D, was Killed

I wrote this just two years ago, before I began blogging. And now I'll post it, l'ilu'i nishmato, to memorialize Avihu, so his soul should rise to even greater heights. And it's all in purple, the color of Givati, the branch of the Israeli army in which Avihu served with distinction.

Musings #18
September 25, 2003

The Night Before Rosh Hashanah

The night before Rosh Hashanah and the siren-like sounds wailed and wailed and wailed, gut-wrenching, like women in childbirth. The shadows lengthened and the cries became louder. Chana, the mother, the sisters, the grandmothers, the friends, the neighbors, the soldiers in their rainbow of berets—the elite of the IDF—and the father showing all from where his son learned strength.

Instead of cooking and cleaning and getting ready for the Holiday that heads the year, we gathered outside the Tabernacle of Shiloh. Hundreds, thousands, impossible to see how many, all to say good bye to a young man. A young man who will no longer be able to make his friends laugh, be a loving son, grandson, brother, uncle. A young man who didn’t have a chance to marry and have children of his own. A young man who was known as the strongest in Shiloh, Avihu.

The sun disappeared beyond the horizon, and the son of the Keinan family was buried in the Shiloh Cemetery, in the row over his grandfather’s grave. Many people spoke, but his father’s words over his fresh grave burned deeply into all who heard. Moshe, the sweet-voiced chazan, the father of Avihu, accused the IDF of cruelty. He accused them of causing his son’s death, because they were protecting the lives of “innocent Arabs.” The army is not fighting like solders; they are unnecessarily endangering our soldiers, our sons.

Then he sang to Avihu, the Yiddish lullaby he used to sing to him, to comfort him. The song he once sang to baby Avihu in his clean crib and loving father’s arms; now he sang to Avihu in his freshly dug grave as HaKodesh Baruch Hu and our Kidushei Hashem: Rachella, Harel, Yehuda, Avi, Shmuel and Noam welcomed him to Olam HaBa, the Next World.

According to Jewish Tradition, the new day begins with the darkness of the previous one. And this new year is beginning with the darkness of Avihu’s murder. B’ezrat Hashem, may it be a wonderful year of Geula Shleimah—Complete Redemption.

Batya Medad, Shiloh

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