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The Pack of Tissues That Restored Faith


Did the sun rise this Sunday morning?

I wouldn't know. All I saw was darkness, all we as a nation saw was devastation. We had lost eleven precious soldiers; it was too much to bear. With hesitation, I opened the link to the names and pictures of our #fallenHeroes. living in a community where almost every family has someone serving in this horrific war, including three of my sons, I feel a twisting pain in the pit of my stomach each time I read the list.


Would I know one of the boys?




As I studied the pictures, one handsome boy, proudly wearing his tefillin and army uniform, jumped out at me. That face was so familiar. In a moment, I understood why. He looked just like my new friend Sara, our mothers of combat soldiers support group member.

No, it couldn’t be!

Not Sara’s son!

We had laughed at her adorable and whimsical stories about Eliyahu Moshe, cried together from fear, prayed for each other’s boys every day, and lovingly checked in. How could it be?


Sara’s son!

I had never met him but cared so much about him.


We reached out to one another, the women in our group, and our leader, Micky. We tried to console each other but could not find the words; there were no words, just agonizing misery. The only one to speak up was Sara herself. On this terrible day, sweet Sara reached out to us. This is what she wrote:


“Thank you for being there for me. We are truly and devastatingly sad, but we are strong and we will be ok. This isn't going to break us; it makes us stronger. Sending my love to you all.”

How, Sara? Where do you find your strength, my friend?


We traveled together to the funeral, a group of mothers of soldiers. We cried, hugged, and cried some more. At the entrance to #HarHertzel (the military cemetery in Jerusalem), volunteers distributed small packets of tissues and water bottles to the mourners. I grabbed some tissues, stuck them in my bag, and promptly forgot about them.


The funeral was shattering, the enormity of the loss too hard to absorb. What a magical young man Eliyahu Moshe was! Generous, kind, proactive, a builder, a community leader, a hard worker who had overcome learning disabilities, a committed Jew, a wonderful son and brother, a caring uncle—so unique, so well crafted by God. This magnificent soul had been torn from his family just as he was about to launch his big plans, and did he have big plans!


Jews do life differently. We have to. We live in tight communities where tragedy and joy intermingle. We come together to support and celebrate, it is our secret power.  We have developed the spiritual muscle to move seamlessly from one to the next.

As I left the funeral, I ran directly to the Brit (circumcision) of my friend’s first grandson. My eyes were bloodshot and swollen from sorrow, and I worried my energy would bring the joyous mood down.


The synagogue was full of loving women surrounding and supporting the mother and



grandmother of the new baby boy.  They too were crying, but thankfully, theirs were tears of joy. One woman turned around and said, “The mother needs a tissue, who has one?”

And then I remembered my Har Hertzel tissues. I felt a flutter of joy as I handed the small packet to the tearful mother. She smiled!


A precious soul had been called back to his maker. A precious soul came down to earth.

The loving hand of Eliyahu Moshe reached out from his lofty, exalted place in heaven, only occupied by the righteous, and handed a tissue to the mother of a new baby boy, just starting his journey.


We all have so many dreams for little Yoav Daniel.


May God protect you and keep you safe.   


Mazal tov.


Am Yisrael Chai! 

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