Livnat Shaubi, 23, Sderot
An explosion’s echo.
Smokey mushrooms in the sky.
The smell of burning.
People gathering in a mass.
The storm after the silence.
A vision of the end of days.
Broken shouts of mothers at their children.
Tears of friends falling on fresh graves.
Fifteen seconds of life.
The wail of an ambulance cutting through the crowd
Freezes, threatens, and silences all.
Eyes suffering from what they see.
A heart shot through.
A child hurt.
“Color Red!” the siren shouts, the color of blood.
A direct hit,
Tzeva adom! Color red!
Fifteen seconds to count backwards
To life or death.
The Keys to the Garden of Eden
The road to the Garden of Eden used to be covered with roadblocks. God sat above it and examined each person approaching the Garden, each in his turn, each approaching God with the story of his life and his complaints – one suffered illness, one poverty, another the absolute loss of heart.
Thus did they come and go and go and come, the souls in their stories, stories of a whole lifetime, years’ worth of stories. And then God saw a child hiding behind a white column in a small white room on the road to Paradise – a child with brown, suffering eyes – pushed by others going ahead on that road.
God summoned an angel with white wings and asked him to bring the child to him. The child was gravely wounded, with bloody holes in his gentle body, all caused by shrapnel. God smiled at the gentle little boy and hugged him hard to Himself. “You are My hero”, God told him. The angels raised their inquiring eyes to God in shock, wanting to know why God has singled this child out. God looked gently at the child and said, “Children who have been murdered only because they are My children receive the keys to Paradise “. The suffering eyes beamed happiness as they covered themselves with tears. The Guardian Angel stared from his post at the child, complaining that he had never seen such favoritism.
Thus did eight years pass. Everyone came with his sorrow, one with illness and another with poverty. From time to time more children, little girls, parents, fathers with children, and the prayers and the crying went before them. Fresh graves, the crying of orphans, shrapnel that penetrates bone, and pain without end. God wiped away a tear after seeing this suffering while he hugged and touched the suffering children, saying, “My children who die only because they are Mine, martyrs for the Land of Israel, shall receive the keys to Paradise.
When children and young people, their parents and old peoplecame to Him, God looked at them with warmth, wiped away a tear, and embraced them with love. And again a young girl came after a terror attack one evening as the Sabbath was departing. She had a blood-stained shirt. God gave her a place of honor in Heaven. A father who worked hard to make his family happy, and who got a piece of metal through his chest, left his seat for this little girl. These two did God place very close to Himself. He covered them with His own Person. God placed a guardian angel, an angel with white wings, next to each one to clean and to bind up the child’s wounds, to soften his pain, to wipe away the little girl’s tears, and to listen carefully to the story of her suffering.
The way to the Garden of Eden is no longer paved with roadblocks. God sits at the gate, making places for the holy people, opening it wide for them, and drying their tears.