On my Way Home from the Terror Attack
This morning, baby Yonatan and I went to the Machaneh Yehuda market to buy some patches for the fraying elbows of my husband’s favorite sweater.
On the way home, I started seeing lots of siren-ning ambulances racing past me.
Before I even knew what had happened, I SMSed my husband. “I hear a lot of sirens, maybe there was a terror attack, but I am fine and on my way home.”
Then I saw a young woman bent over her smartphone, and I asked her what had happened. “There was a terror attack by the shuk…”
“I was just there a few minutes ago…”
I don’t remember her reaction, but I remember mine.
For a few minutes, like right after the dentist administers the anesthetic, I felt fine. I SMSed my older daughters who attend high school outside of Jerusalem and told them we were all OK. And then I started to feel the warm numbness of shock passing through my body.
And I remembered when I felt that warm numbness of shock 26 years ago.
I was a freshman at Bowdoin College, and our dorm counselors decided the entire dorm would play a game called Assassin.
It was supposed to be really fun, and help the 80-something students living in the dorm get to know each other.
This is how the game worked. Every student got a water gun, and was assigned another student to assassinate. Then he or she had to assassinate the person the victim was supposed to assassinate. And so forth and so on until there is only one survivor left–the Coleman Hall winner!
I don’t usually play games. But for whatever reason, I got deeply engrossed in this one.
Over the course of 2 weeks, I stalked and assasinated 13 of my dormmates–at gym practice, before economics class, in the cafeteria.
And I did everything within my power to avoid public places where I might get assassinated. I stopped going to the library, spending time on the quad, and eating in the cafeteria (I would pick up a bag lunch instead, and eat it in my locked dorm room.)
I would rush from one place to the other, with my heart racing. I wanted to survive!
And I was certain I would survive until one day, when I was in the language lab watching the Soviet news by satellite as I did every day after lunch (I was a Russian and government major), a girl from Coleman Hall, acting on inside information I presume, found me and assassinated me.
The warm numbness of shock filled my body within minutes, and lasted for several weeks.
It was the first time I discovered, as I have many times since, that careful people die too.
But today, coming home from the market, was different than getting assassinated 26 years ago.
Because today, through the numbness, I looked around me and felt flooded by the light of Hashem and my love for Eretz Yisrael.