When the Israeli Soldier Arrived in Heaven…by Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu

When the Israeli Soldier Arrived in Heaven…by Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu

This powerful and intensely moving story was written by Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu in 1974, when he was a young student at Yeshivat HaKotel, shortly after many of his classmates were tragically killed in the Yom Kippur War. With special thanks to Yedidya Meir and Sivan Rahav Meir.

And when he arrived there, in Heaven, the gate was open

And he entered inside like a regular visitor, with a sure step

And from all sides, from all over

Dozens and dozens of elderly men surrounded him

And he looked closely and he saw that those people who were surrounding him on all sides

Were people whose names he had seen in elementary school, in a book,

And he remembered that all sorts of streets were named after them.

The tsaddikim, the learned ones, the Torah scholars. And oh: there were the Patriarchs!

And all of them stood crowded and pressed together, and closed in around him from all sides,

And in their mouths was a single request, almost a prayer, “Tell, tell us how?”

How did a simple boy, an average fellow, “just a regular person”

Accomplish that which they had struggled to accomplish their entire lives, with learning gemara and observing halacha

To arise and merit to dwell in the uppermost chamber, where only martyrs merited to dwell

And all of the tsaddikim were familiar, and knew well all of the suffering taking place

Since the Jewish people is one, all of the generations

And they sat in awe of his holiness, and drank in his words with thirst

As if they were the students and he—and he was the rabbi.

And he looked a little to the sides, and who did he see?

He rubbed his eyes hard to see if he wasn’t mistaken

But, there they were! Now he was completely certain

His friends from the battalion, from the division

And beside them, a little ahead, the soldiers from the War of
Independence and the Sinai War and the 6 Day War.

All of those that the Jewish people lost in the hills and the woods and on every hill

And those from the ambushes and the strikes

And those from the War of Attrition—all of them, all of them were there!

All of those who arrived there, with a special and great merit:

They had been killed solely because they were Jews, in the land of Israel and in the Diaspora.

And each soldier sat, and on each head was a great golden crown

And every tsaddik looked at him with love and gentleness, exactly like a

And they swallow up every word, as though they were hearing wondrous new ideas, chidushim in Torah.

And the soldier told his story calmly, simply, and couldn’t understand what they were so excited about.

And so, as he was sitting there and telling his story, and transforming their faces into flames

From the corner of paradise flew three angels, three good angels

They apologized to everyone, but they only needed him for one moment.

Don’t worry! He would return immediately, and he would start his story again from exactly the point where he had stopped.

They just needed to ask him one question, that is what they had been commanded.

If he still had something to arrange below, in the world of human beings

And if so, then they were at his service, that was exactly their role.

And he said, it’s good they came, because he had one request, though it was a small one.

But it was a request that would not bear being pushed off or delayed.

To go down to the world, and to tell that girl who used to come to visit him

The one who brought him a bouquet of African violets every single morning

That they should tell her that he had recovered, that he was now in the rehabilitation center.

Just that she shouldn’t know that he was in the place—from where no mortal had ever returned.

And the angels said: “Of course” “No problem!” “Such an easy mission!”

And they drew lots to decide who would go down, and so overjoyed
was the one who was chosen

And he flew down with shaking wings, full of joy and happiness and rejoicing.

To fulfill that which the holy martyr had commanded him, the one who was protected within Hashem’s shadow.

And the angel arrived at the hospital, and took on the image of a merciful nurse

But when he came close to the room—he understood that he had not arrived in time.

At the foot of the white and empty bed, somebody had dropped a bouquet of African violets

And beside them stood a person, and the angel understood who this must be

And this little person moaned with sobs, and the seven heavens became stirred up

Such crying that it tore hearts, and even the hearts of angels.

And the good angel only ascended back to Heaven 2 days later

Because there, of course, it is forbidden to cry— for nobody cries…in Heaven.

Image courtesy of Flickr.com user Israel Defense Forces


  1. Thank you for this, Chana Jenny.

  2. ruth cohen

    wow, wonderful, no words just amazing

  3. That is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it.

  4. Breathtaking.

  5. Amazing!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

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