Thursday, January 28, 2010

Circles Again

I've always been amazed at how life circles around you; how lives touch each other and connections keep intercepting. Today was no exception. Elie called me several times - perhaps it is fanciful to feel that maybe he was a bit lonely. He was home last Shabbat and told me that Yashar LaChayal was coming to his base to donate water-packs to his unit.

While this is something I would expect from this amazing organization, when I checked with them, the Executive Director read off a list of units and places for the next week or so, and Elie's base wasn't on the list. It slipped my mind until Elie called me and said, "Guess who came to my base today?"

Of course, my first thought was Yashar LaChayal, "Was it Leon?" (the Executive Director).

"No," Elie answered. So who was it?

"Rabbi Marcus and his yeshiva," Elie explained. Rabbi Jay Marcus was the rabbi of my husband's synagogue for many years back in America. Twenty-six years ago, he was the officiating rabbi (one of two actually) at my wedding. Twenty-two plus years ago, Rabbi Marcus lead Elie's circumcision ceremony (brit milah). Several years ago, he established a yeshiva in Beit Shemesh, where each of his sons work and where he became the spiritual guiding force after he moved to Israel.

Years ago, I had explained to him about wanting, needing, to come live in Israel. This was a dream he shared for his family as well and so there was always a sense of understanding in our conversations.

"Did he recognize you?" I asked and realized right away what an amazingly stupid question it was. No, of course not. He hasn't seen Elie since he was a young child. He wouldn't expect to see Elie there on a base, dressed in uniform.

"Rabbi Marcus wasn't there, but his son was," Elie said.

"Did you tell him who you were?"

"Yes," Elie answered.

And there was that circle of life that comes around and around.

I spoke to Elie two more times today; he was in Jerusalem and had extra time before his physical therapy appointment. If I had been at work today, I would have seen him, but I had taken the day off to share with my oldest daughter - lunch and shopping in the center of Jerusalem. The problem is that Israel is building a light-rail in the center of Jerusalem and has been for many months (years, actually) and so no one goes to the center unless they are willing to put up with traffic, congestion, noise. It's just messy. Elie didn't feel like coming to join us and so it was a strange feeling once again to know he was so close...and yet out of reach.

In the end, he went back to base and will be home Saturday night. Shmulik came home tonight - he is weeks away.

"Kfir," he said. Kfir is a division of the ground forces. "Kfir is good," he told me, "it means Elie can give me pieces from his gun."

Ah, the mind of a boy on the edge of manhood. If Shmulik were to go into Golani, they would be using an Israeli-made gun and not the M16. Apparently Kfir still uses the M-16s. Once we know the unit for certain, I'll take him to purchase the things he will need. It's coming by day.

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