As soon as the soldier stopped the bus the questions started from the passengers. Immediately the rumor began going up and down the aisle that there had been a terror attack. My daughter jumped up, grabbed her first aid kit, and was at the front of the bus in a few seconds.“Let me out,” she told the driver.
“I can’t! There’s been a shooting!”
“But I’m a medic!”Without another word the driver opened the door and Shoshana scrambled down the steps. It was nothing short of a miracle that she had been on that bus at that particular time with her first aid kit. HaShem had set the stage for this particular episode of Hashgacha Pratit more than a month earlier when my mother-in-law died on the Shabbat of our youngest son’s Bar Mitzvah.
Saturday night, after we learned of her death, there was much to do. Besides making arrangements for my husband and eldest son to fly out that evening, we needed to cancel the Bar Mitzvah party planned for the coming Monday. Being that we had not had a family celebration in over four years we had spent a lot of time planning the “perfect evening”. We reserved the sport hall in the nearby village along with tables and chairs. One of our neighbors is a caterer and together we worked out a delicious menu for the festive meal. Another neighbor plays the organ and was set to provide music for lots of dancing. Several more of our neighbors, who are rabbis, were planning to speak at the evening and our son knew his speech well. In just a few phone calls we were able to cancel all our hard work. Close friends helped us inform all the invited guest of the change in plans.
Our Bar Mitzvah boy handled his disappointment well, probably better than I did. I had a hard time while my husband was away. Although he had lost his mother I had lost my mother-in-law. He was sitting shiva a half a world away. Instead of participating and being supportive there, I was at home dealing with my loss and my children’s loss of their grandmother. In the back of my mind was the question of what we would do to celebrate for my son.The question was put on hold until after Shloshim. And then the upcoming Israeli elections gave us an idea. Election Day in Israel used to be a holiday of sorts. Public schools and offices were closed. Businesses had to pay their workers extra. That year, for some reason, our school in Shilo was going to have a three day break. We chose one of those days to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah.
Our son invited all the boys in his class, the class above him, and the class below him, and then some more. We filled up a bus and took the boys to an amusement park outside Jerusalem. All of our older children came along to help chaperone and our oldest daughter came as the medic.
It was an original, enjoyable outing followed by a luncheon back in Shilo. Once over Shoshana boarded the bus to go back to Jerusalem. She had been riding only ten minutes when the driver stopped and let her off the bus.
There were two wounded, an adult male and a little boy. Shoshana went to the wounded man and a passing Arab who was also a medic worked on the child. Here was another “coincidence”, two medics “just happened” to be passing by at that particular time. One more coincidence, years earlier our daughter had spent a class Shabbat in the village where the wounded man lived and, of course, it was at his table she had eaten.
He and the boy were stabilized by the time the ambulances came. With her work over Shoshana hopped back on the bus. A friend of ours who had watched it all from the bus window told us she sat down quietly with a proud, half smile on her face.
We were proud of her for her willingness and ability to help save the injured. More than a month earlier I had wondered why HaShem had chosen that particular time to have my mother-in-law die. It was almost as if He was telling us he did not want us to make a big party. Now I thought I had an answer to my questions. It was not that HaShem did not want us to celebrate. Perhaps it was because He wanted to set the wheels in motion so my daughter would be able to help save the wounded. We are grateful to her and to all the other volunteers who give of their time so generously.Shiva: the first week of mourning
Shloshim: the first thirty days after the funeral