The Terrorist’s Mother

The Terrorist’s Mother

She looked like the mother of a terrorist, or on second thought, maybe she looked like a terrorist herself dressed all in black like that from the top of her headscarf all the way down to her covered feet. She even had on those black sinister sunglasses.

But I didn’t notice her at first. All I noticed was my good luck…

Hadas was urgently awaiting my arrival home, and the light rail pulled up the moment I got to the station.

But when I put my hand into my purse I realized that I had left my light-rail card at home…all I had with me was a ten-shekel coin and there was no way I would be able to buy a ticket in time to make the train.

But I HAD to make this train….

And then a man in a T-shirt and jeans said to me in a thick Arabic accent, “Here, I have a brand new card for you…”

And this total stranger handed me a light-rail ticket! We boarded the train together, and I handed him my 10-shekel coin. And that was when I saw her, the terrorist’s mother….The man gestured to this woman (his wife? His sister?) to give me change.

So the terrorist’s mother opened up her orange wallet and poked around with her index finger like a person stoking a fire out of barbecue charcoals.

But after a few unsuccessful stokes she handed me back the 10-shekel coin as she declared “Chalas!” which literally means “Stop” or “enough” but which in this situation seemed to mean, “That’s OK, just forget about it. No need to pay for the ticket.”

So I handed her back the 10 shekels, “Please, take it. Forget about the change.”

But the terrorist’s mother handed it back. “Chalas” she repeated again.

And I saw that there was no way to convince her to take it, especially with her non-existent Hebrew and my non-existent Arabic.

And as we sped towards the Municipality, I felt tears pooling in my eyes, and for several long minutes they remained.

I have been feeling down recently about the ongoing boxing match between light and darkness in this world. And how much I yearn for the final knockout of darkness in this match. But I have learned from experience that there will never be a final knockout. At least until Moshiach arrives, and who knows when that will be?

And this morning, b”H, there was a left hook for the forces of light on the light rail from an unexpected boxer dressed all in black from head to toe.


  1. I think you need to be more careful what you write to such a big audience. I am refering to your coment about moshiach and “who knows when that will be”. It sounds partially sarcastic and totally not what a believing jew is permitted to think, like chas v’sholom u dont believe Hashems promise. its one of the 13 principals of faith. The minimum of this mitzva is to think every single day that moshiach can come today. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said Moshiach is coming now. Amen kein yihi Ratzom

    • Yocheved

      I think that she just meant that no one really knows for sure, and if they say they know for sure then you know they are lying (or insane).

      May he come SOON, and in our days!

    • JewishMom

      thanks for this comment, I’ll have to think about this…

  2. Yocheved

    I was recently accused of “Hating all Arabs and Muslims” for no good reason. (stupid online discussion)

    My reply was that I don’t hate anyone, unless they are trying to kill me. I don’t hate people as groups, I hate cultures and ideologies that glorify murder and mayhem. I hate people of any race or religion who would want to end another’s life on the grounds of THEIR hatred.

    My daughter is special needs, so she attends a public school. We happen to live alongside a neighborhood that is a huge landing pad for Somali Muslims who are political refugees. I’m absolutely thrilled that she gets along with the Muslim girls in her class. They give her role models for polite behavior and modest dress, and make her feel less out of place as the only Orthodox Jew in the school.

    My Jewish friends want to know if I’m upset that my daughter is in “that environment”. Upset? I’m thrilled! How else can we become a light unto the nations, if children can’t build friendships with people of different backgrounds?

    Regardless of our faith, every one of us on earth is an ambassador for something, either for good or evil. We, as individuals, must decide what face we will put forward. The woman you met is an ambassador for good, no doubt about it!

  3. yehudit chana

    Beautifully written. I love the imagery of the left hook of the unexpected boxer dressed in black. And it makes you think: maybe the final knockout will look much, much different than we thought…

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