Eva Sandler visits Shiva of Fellow Widow, Avivit She’ar

Eva Sandler visits Shiva of Fellow Widow, Avivit She’ar

A week to the day after Eva Sandler lost her husband and two sons in the terror attack in Toulouse, this past Monday Rechovot high school teacher Avivit She’ar lost her five young children and husband in an electrical fire. Before she returned to France, Eva Sandler paid a shiva call to fellow widow and bereaved mother Avivit She’ar.

Here is a translation of the YNet article by Koby Nachshoni and Omri Ephraim about their unforgettable meeting. I highly encourage Hebrew speakers to listen to the original recording of the widows’ conversation at the shiva. Special thanks to Hadas Melmed for sending me this article!:

Avivit She’ar, whose 5 children and husband were killed in a fire in Rechovot, received hundreds of shiva calls today, among them one from a mother who experienced a similar tragedy recently. “It’s a shame that we become stronger religiously only from situations like this,” Eva Sandler told Avivit…and Avivit suggested to Eva that she should make aliya to Israel, “There’s no place like the Land of Israel. Come on, this is your opportunity, leave there, and come here. We Jews don’t have any other place to be.”

Relatives, friends, neighbors, as well as others who did not know the family have been coming to the shiva. “It’s clear to me that this is some sort of atonement for the Jewish people,” the widow and bereaved mother from Rechovot told Sandler. Avivit spoke primarily about G-d. “Everything He does is for the best. We can’t understand why this is for the best, because we are truly limited in our intelligence and our knowledge.”

“We are the ones still living in a movie. We will also have to leave this world at one point, but I don’t know if we will attain the same level as them…I have no doubt that they (our family members who died) are in the best possible places. It’s just our personal interest, that we want them and we don’t have them and we miss them, because the ones truly suffering right now are us. But for them? Things couldn’t be better.”

She’ar added, “We have to believe and trust in the Holy One that He gave and he took back…may His name be truly blessed. All of these sacrifices that we have sacrificed, that you sacrificed and that I sacrificed, may they truly be sacrifices that will open up everyone’s hearts to faith and to very high levels of becoming closer to Hashem.”

Their meeting took place a short time before Sandler returned to France. She told Avivit that she had been at the Western Wall, and that she had prayed for Avivit and her family, and only afterwards for herself.

A few days after the murder in Toulouse, Sandler published a letter on the Chabad.org site in which she wrote, “My heart is broken. I cannot speak. There is no way for me to express my great pain over the murder of my dear husband and my sons. I hope that no person will ever be forced to experience pain and suffering like this.” She’ar told Sandler this evening that she had passed out her letter to her high-school students only the week before.

Gai She’ar (38) and the children Eliav (11), Evyatar (8), Amitai (7), Shira (3), and Itamar (2) died two days ago in a fire that broke out in their apartment in Rechovot. The mother Avivit, who was in the adjacent apartment at the time, started screaming uncontrollably when she heard about the disaster.

“She is going through a very, very difficult period, obviously, and she is still in complete shock,” neighbor and family friend Yoni Nagar said. “We are very connected with them and supporting them at this difficult time. They are a wonderful, quiet family with amazing children.”…

Rabbi Zeev Cohen, the principal of Ulpanat Tsvia Rechovot where Avivit teaches said that she is very strong “and she says that she is now growing religiously through the power of her faith. When her young students arrive at the shiva broken, she encourages them.” Cohen, who was also Avivit’s teacher, added, “Avivit, and also we, have not yet comprehended the size of this tragedy. She just says over and over again, ‘I’ve been left all alone.”

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