The new baby boy will be cherished by his parents, uncle, grandmother on one side and grandparents on the other side. Each will savor the look, the cries, the utter dependence, each movement, each new discovery and mostly the embodiment of the family's DNA and the promise of continuity. Each proud relative will undoubtedly give one's life to protect the new baby boy, and yet none of us has been in such situations in recent memory.
There are those among us that some seven decades ago were placed in situations that the mind cannot fathom, that reason will rebuke and that President Ahmadinejad of Iran thus claims are an utter impossibility. Indeed, who can imagine keeping a stale piece of bread and not giving it to your dying sister, just so that you might have a reserve for yourself if the situation gets even worse? Who can imagine a situation where a mother to a newborn will be in a train cart with her child and husband, with more people than cattle it is meant to haul, and there is not a drop of liquid to feed the screaming newborn?
Let us remember this awful past. A seven year old boy had to lock his three year old sister in the room for the day, day after day, while he hanged out with a gang of other young law-breaker children, collecting cigarette butts and possibly stealing leftovers so that he can get some food for him and his sister and obtain some milk for his mother who was hospitalized with an incurable disease and given no chances of recovery. Can a seven year old have enough maturity and courage to handle what life brings at such an early age? I doubt many adults several times his age would do what innocence of childhood and understanding reserved only for children, well beyond their years, have enabled in him, bestowing a resolve not otherwise seen.
This young boy's mother recovered, the sister survived and they escaped from Europe never to return. They arrived to Israel as the country was born anew, a modern state surrounded by enemies. It was a different era, a different state of being. Nothing was taken for granted, every new day was a miracle of existence. Life was harsh, difficult, the winters cold and the summers hot and humid. Livelihood was not plentiful and the perils were many, but the country was theirs and the promise was embodied in everything they did.
It was a never-forgotten promise, whispered along generations, a Promise of the Almighty to His People, a Grand Deed signed in heaven, irrevocable, ad infinitum. It was God's promise to protect His Children. Surrounded by never-ending love, the Children of Israel, at least in the story, were covered with a blanket of warmth: Those who bless you, Oh, Israel, will be blessed".
The seven year old boy continued to build. The wisdom of horrors no other generation has seen, the maturity of a child who lost his childhood under the immense burden of life's demands, have created a new breed that nothing can stop. It was the realization there is no other choice, there is only one country and only one insurance policy that catalyzed this man into a diamond, unbreakable, impenetrable, shining light and wisdom on his surroundings.
It was the material from which heroes were crafted, later to become an officer in the Israel Defense Forces. The motto of a leader, "FOLLOW ME," a person who goes first and does not bid a job to others or hide behind women and children as our enemies do.
This was a generation that built Israel, fought its wars, raised a family and saw children to its children. This was a generation that is now slowly starting to disappear, leaving with hesitation, since the job is not done and the perils are stronger than before. This was a generation that year after year spent a month and more on reserve duty, and when it reached the age of dismissal continued to volunteer. This was the generation to whom we owe everything we take so easily for granted. Our being, our comforts, our education and asset that can never be taken from us and our future.
As a new Israeli son arrives on this eighth day of the Hebrew month of Av, in the summer ending the first decade of the second millennium, he is surrounded by never-ending love. May he never face the obstacles and unfathomable horrors of only seven decades ago. May he have no stories kept inside and never told due to the enormity of the horror they carry with them. May he grow to see children to his children.