Mother of Naama Henkin HY”D: Naama Gives me the Strength to Raise her Children
This past Sunday, several hundred people gathered in Jerusalem to mark the shloshim of Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin HY”D. The following is an excerpt from the speech given by Hila Armoni, the mother of Naama, about how Naama enables her to cope with her death and the challenges of raising her 4 orphaned grandchildreN:
“On Friday night of Parshat Bereishit, 10 days after the bitter and harried night on which our beloved Naama and Eitam were murdered and their children moved into our home in Peduel, I felt a feathery fluttering on my shoulder.
“It wasn’t a scratch or a painful burn, but rather a familiar and beloved close embrace, as pleasant, as Na-eem, as Naama. An embrace from my daughter, my Naama, which awakened my heart and sent me from above strength, faith, and trust that the children are in good hands, and that we, Saba Chanan and Savta Hila in partnership with Saba Yehuda and Savta Chana [along with family, friends, and neighbors] together will grant to these dear ones, a happy life, a life full of love of Torah and fear of Heaven. A life of happiness and the joy of brothers sitting together.
“It was a feathery fluttering I felt, sort of hot, which said: You and the children will be OK. We will send you strength. A month has passed, and, to quote Zelda, there has been no justice and no judge. And your amazing children who were saved in the merit of the incomparable act of courage by their brave father, are all looking in their own way at their new life in their new home, which bears a new sign which reads: “Armoni-Henkin.”
“Naama, your childhood cabinets have been filled up with [your] children’s clothing and the porch has been turned into a wonderful playroom where the children can play just as they used to at your home in Neriya. Baby Itamar has two new teeth, and he has started crawling and talking and our eyes fill with tears as we see him and think of this moment which you are not experiencing….
“The children have made new friends. Your bookshelf, Eitam, stuffed with holy books will be moved to our home this week. And Matan asked whether, when you return to life during Techiyat Hamatim, whether you will remain the same age? Every night, during Shema Yisrael, Neta prays that he will not have nightmares and when I cry he gives me kisses which dry my eyes.
“The transition from regular grandmotherhood to this kind of grandmotherhood is not easy for us, but we remember the wonderful quote in the name of a woman whom you greatly respected, about giving, which needs to be performed without expectation of receiving anything in return. That we should stop expecting that pressing a button will get the child to do what we want. Just give and give! This is your role as a parent or a grandparent, to give unconditionally.
“We are trying to establish a blessed routine. We talk with you all the time, Eitam and Naama. Sometimes the dense longing floods everything and the protective damn of forgetting disappears. The distress bursts out and floods the entire world. So we chose, your father and I chose, to cling to life so that we will live, and to leave logic to the side, for the meantime, until the time is ripe.
“I ask forgiveness from all the wonderful people who want to share their pain and tell us about the great goodness which you possessed, Eitan and Naama, and the light which you shined upon them, along with many stories about you which we had never heard before.
“We are sorry that we haven’t answered everybody, at the moment the loss is difficult for us, but we will continue with the great mission which the great and awesome L-rd has put into our hands.”