And we are done…11 years of having sons in the army (minus a small break at one point)…has finished. Last week, David gave back his rifle; yesterday he signed the final papers on base and today he returned his “hoger” – his military I.D.

Tomorrow, he returns to his yeshiva to begin again the life of a religious young man, learning and looking forward.
If I look at the boy he was…and the man he has become, I am so grateful…and relieved.

There are few more horrible things in life than sending your son to an army…and few things more amazing. Today, he is physically stronger than when he went in, more sure of who he is.

It is a special priviledge and honor, a special kind of heaven and a special kind of hell to have a son serve his country. There are things they see and learn that any normal parent would give years off their lives to avoid.

In the end, my sons know that when their country called them, they answered. When they were needed, they stepped forward. Not all do.

For all his life, Elie will always remember that he was Artillery; Shmulik will remember he was Kfir, and Davidi will always be Givati.

In honor they served and with the grace and protection of God, we are done.

His rifle will be given to another son, another who will stand on Israel’s borders because the fight continues; the war seemingly never ends.

May God bless the soldiers of Israel, who stand on our borders, serve in every capacity to make this great machine we know as the army run.

And may God bless the mothers of soldiers (and the fathers too). It is one of the hardest things I have ever been called upon to do. It is nights of fear…and pride; days of terror and uncertainty…

And they are days and weeks and months and years in which you know that despite it all, your son or daughter is doing something that Jews only dreamed about doing for 2,000 years…defending our land.

May my son (all my sons and daughters) go from strength to strength in pride and honor.


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