Eva Sandler, 3 Months Later

Eva Sandler, 3 Months Later

Last week, 3 months after the horrific murder of her husband and two sons in Toulouse, widow Eva Sandler addressed a crowd of over 3000 Jews at South Africa’s annual Sinai Indaba conference. The following is a short excerpt from the interview conducted with Eva before the conference that appears in this week’s issue of Mishpacha Magazine (I highly recommend that all you JewishMOMs buy this week’s issue of Mishpacha in order to read the entire interview, it is incredible…)

Excerpted from Together in Grief, Together in Hope by Rabbi Ari Taback

“What happened [to my family]- I understand,” Eva Sandler says. “I was there. Why it happened? I don’t try to even fathom the heavenly calculations. Simple. Even if I’d ask why, I wouldn’t get an answer”…

“In the months before the shooting, as a teacher I placed much emphasis in my classroom on the blessing of asher yatzar, which thanks Hashem for the healthy functioning of the human body. I don’t know why I was so focused on this blessing. But when I stood there at the scene [of the terror attack], the words of the blessing went through my head: ‘Ee efshar l’hitkayem v’laamod lifanecha, afila sha’ah echat—without your help, Hashem, it is impossible to exist before You even for one hour.’ And I realized that it is not literally an hour, but even a single moment. I saw it with my own eyes.”

Eva does not feel that she was chosen, that she is special in any way. “Me? Davka not. But them, the souls no longer with us…they were literally tzaddikim. They were chosen because of their level.”

Today, Eva lives in Paris, close to her parents and siblings. But Paris, she’s convinced, can only be a temporary home; she is hoping to move back to Israel…

Yet no matter where she winds up, she says she’ll never be alone.

“There are supernatural strengths that I have been given, powers from Heaven. It’s as if Hashem instilled this strength inside me, so I should have the stamina to continue. And I feel Hashem’s closeness,” she adds. “I feel as if He has taken my hand, and He is guiding me where to go, what to do. I feel almost literally, that He has given me His hand, not allowing me to fall.”

Eva also has some powerful role models who’ve left footsteps for her to follow. “My husband’s aunt is a role model to me. She is a woman who survived the war. After the war she married and had a single son. He was a sick child and after 14 years he passed away. Not long after that her husband died as well. I’ve always observed that she is a woman who’s constantly smiling, despite all her suffering. She has found a way to not forget her losses, but still carry on with her life.” …

“After the tragedy, I thought, either I can crawl under my blanket and give up, or I can continue the work that my husband started. I realized that if I do not continue on the path, it is as if they went in vain. Now after what has happened, I want to continue his journey. It was so important to him. I never thought I would come here. I never thought I would speak in front of so many people. But now that I am continuing his work, it is as if he is standing here talking.”

Is it not too fresh, too raw, to open her heart and speak in such a public venue?

“It is very recent. Very raw. I’m sure time will do its thing, but now it’s still very hard. It’s hard to be doing this; it’s not something that comes easily to me. But I feel that it perpetuates what my husband began. He wanted to spread Torah. He wanted to bring people closer. This was his mission, his purpose. I feel that if I go and strengthen others, it means that I am continuing his work.”

Sandler’s presentation to the Indaba was a collection of midrashim and allegories, delivered in soft, modest tones. The message was simple yet profound: even in a world that at times is filled with suffering and pain, a Jew continues to trust in Hashem.

One comment

  1. Wdonerful site. I jsut came across it tonight and have alreayd read a number of back articles. THis one is so inrpirational .

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