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A Grieving Motherís Miracle

A grief-stricken mother who lost her son in Gaza found her life unexpectedly linked to another boy called Dvir.

In December of 2008, St.-Sgt. Dvir Emanuelof became the first casualty of Operation Cast Lead, losing his life to Hamas mortar fire just as he entered Gaza early in the offensive.

This past summer, Dalia and some friends planned to go to Hutzot Hayotzer, the artists' colony constructed each summer outside Jerusalem's Old City walls. But Dalia's young daughter objected; she wanted to go a week later, so she could hear Meir Banai in concert.

Dalia consented. And so, a week later, she found herself in the bleachers, waiting with her daughter for the performance to begin. Suddenly, Dalia felt someone touch her shoulder. When she turned around, she saw a little boy, handsome, with blond hair and blue eyes. A kindergarten teacher by profession, Dalia was immediately drawn to the boy, and as they began to speak, she asked him if he'd like to sit next to her.

By now, though, the boy's father had seen what was unfolding, and called over to him, "Eshel, why don't you come back and sit next to me and Dvir?" Stunned, Dalia turned around and saw the father holding a baby. "What did you say his name is?" she asked the father.

"Dvir," responded Benny.

"How old is he?" Dalia asked.

"Six months," was the reply.

"Forgive my asking," she continued, "was he born after Cast Lead, or before?"

"After."

Whereupon Dalia continued, "Please forgive my pressing, but can I ask why you named him Dvir?"

"Because," Benny explained to her, "the first soldier killed in Cast Lead was named Dvir. His story touched us, and we decided to name our son after him."

Almost unable to speak, Dalia paused, and said, "I'm that Dvir's mother."

Shiri, the baby's mother, had overheard the conversation, and wasn't certain that she believed her ears.

"What's your last name?"

"Emanuelof."

"Where do you live?"

"Givat Ze'ev."

"It is you," Shiri said. "We meant to invite you to the brit, but we couldn't."

"It doesn't matter," Dalia assured her - "You see, I met you anyway."

And then, Shiri said something to her that she'll never forget - "Dvir is sending you a hug, through us."

When Shiri was pregnant with Dvir, and was in her 33rd or 34th week, she underwent an ultrasound test. A potentially serious problem with the baby was discovered. After consultations with medical experts, she was told that there was nothing to do until after the baby was born, when the doctors would see what they could do for him.

A day or two later, she was at home, alone, anxious and worried. She lit Chanukah candles, and turned on the news. The story was about Dvir Emanuelof, the first soldier killed in the operation. She saw, she said, the extraordinarily handsome young man, with his now famous smile, and she felt as though she were looking at an angel.

A short while later, Benny came home, and Shiri said to him, "A soldier was killed today."

"I heard," he said. "What do you say we name our baby after him?" Shiri asked.

"Okay," was Benny's reply.

They told no one about the name, and had planned to call Dalia once the baby was born, to invite her to the brit. But when Dvir was born, Shiri and Benny were busy with medical appointments, and it wasn't clear when the baby would be able to have his brit (circumcision).

By the time the doctor gave them the okay to have the brit, Shiri felt that it would not be respectful to invite Dalia on such short notice. So they didn't call her. Not then, and not the day after. Life took its course and they told no one about the origin of Dvir's name, for they hadn't yet informed Dalia.

So no one knew, until that moment when a little blond-haired, blue-eyed boy - whom Dalia now calls "the messenger" - decided to tap Dalia on the shoulder. "Someone's looking out for us up there," Shiri said quietly, wiping a tear from her eye, "and this no doubt brings Him joy."

(Daniel Gordis, Israel21c.org)

 

 


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