Sunday, November 1, 2009

OII #18- Israeli Soldiers

My eyes started to tear as I told my mother over the phone what happened to me today, and her eyes started to water too. No, it wasn't something sad, but something touching. And something so routine that probably many take it for granted.

I got on the bus today with my daughter, heading out to pick up something in a neighborhood far away. I grabbed her tight, got the driver to punch my ticket, folded my stroller, and sat down. There was an empty seat next to me, and a woman across the aisle was also sitting, an empty seat next to her.

After about two stops, a young Israeli soldier boarded the bus, carrying his gun, his ammunition pack, and a giant duffel bag, probably containing all that he was taking back to his base after a brief trip home to see his family and do laundry.

He unloaded all his gear while still wearing his gun, and placed it on the floor next to my folded stroller. Meanwhile, I recognized that he probably wouldn't want to sit next to me, so I moved over to sit next to the woman with the empty seat next to her.

He looked up, saw what I did, and smiled. He then proceeded to sit down.
I have no idea what prompted me, but I looked at him and wished him quietly, "Hatzlacha Rabba". He smiled again, and nodded his thanks.

He then proceeded to spend the rest of the bus ride, until I disembarked, playing peekaboo with my daughter from across the aisle, making sure my stroller and his gear didn't roll their way across the bus, and generally acting so chesedik and kind to every single person on the bus who passed by. Like the elderly women who he helped with the shopping cart. Oh, and the other woman who he helped off the bus with her stroller.

I'm telling you, he was such a stereotypical example of an Israeli soldier, down to the kindness and all. Our boys, our young Jewish boys, head out to the army at such a young age, but they have such hearts of gold.

When I told this story over to my mother on my next bus ride, she started to cry. She reminded me of an even older story that happened with me as a young one and a soldier as well.

When I was a little child, about 5 or so, my parents went on a trip to Israel. They got on a bus, and a young soldier proceeded to play games with me at that age, just like this soldier did for my daughter. My parents were so touched, and showered so many blessings on his head as a result. I have a picture, as a young child, of me with that soldier, both of us smiling huge grins.

The soldiers of Israel- our brothers, sons, and fathers. May they all continue to be safe, well, and protected.


Shades of Grey said...

quite inspirational - and a great example of the kind of expression of ahavas Yisrael we need these days.

nmf #7 said...

Shades of Grey- He was awesome, and a definite lift to my whole day when I thought about it.