August 19, 2002
Way back in 1994, the Meshulam family, Rabbi Inon, his wife Orna, and their children left their home in Rechovot and made Aliyah to Hebron. Here they took up residence in Beit Shneerson, right next to Beit Hadassah. Rabbi Inon, a serious Torah scholar continued to study and teach. His wife Orna taught in the Kiryat Arba Ulpana, the girl’s high school. A Yeminite family, the Meshulam’s added a special flavor to the Hebron environs.
On a Sunday morning in January of 1995 the Meshulam’s had an unexpected visitor. Their then 10 year old daughter Bat El stayed home that day, not feeling well. Everyone else was out, at work or at school. At about 9:15 in the morning women outside Beit Hadassah hearing a nearby explosion, ran to soldiers guarding in the area and asked what had happened. The soldiers shrugged, answering that the explosion occurred far away. The women and soldiers were still discussing the incident when 10 year old Bat El ran outside, calling to them, screaming, ‘something exploded in our kitchen.” Everyone ran upstairs and found the remains of a Lowe missile smoldering on the floor. The missile, shot by terrorists from the Harat a’Shech hills, smashed through the Meshulam’s kitchen window and plowed into the wall, not far from where Bat El was resting in her room. Fortunately for her and for the other residents of the building, the Lowe missile, stolen from an Israeli military base near Jericho, was used by Israeli forces for training exercises and did not contain a loaded warhead.
Almost a half a year ago, in March, another one of the Meshulam children, 16 year old Eliya was walking outside the Avraham Avinu neighborhood when an Arab terrorist ran out from the Arab market with a knife in his hands. He plunged the knife into the Jewish youth and ran off, managing to escape from Israeli military forces. Eliya was seriously wounded, as the huge knife virtually pierced him, from side to side. However, G-d was watching over Eliya Meshulam. Despite injuries to his liver and colon, two weeks later Eliya was back home. Another Meshulam family miracle.
But that wasn’t really the second miracle. It was the third. Almost exactly a year ago, on August 25, 2001, eleven year old Tzviel Meshulam and his seventeen year old brother Matanel were playing on the porch of their home. At seven o’clock in the evening Arab terrorists began shooting at them from the infamous Abu Sneneh hills. One bullet tore through Matanel’s hand and a bullet fragment punctured Tzviel’s chest, missing his lungs by millimeters. Tzviel’s injury was, at first, considered to be serious, but he recovered quickly. Matanel’s wound caused grave damage to his hand, and he has undergone numerous medical procedures over the past year. At the time of the shooting Matenel was serving in the army. These days, in between medical care, Matanel spends his time studying Torah.
One might ask, how does a family react to continued terrorist acts, especially when they strike, not just so close to home, but literally at home? The Meshulam’s have tremendous faith, and I think I can accurately state that these three terror attacks have strengthened them. They did not leave Hebron, they did not try and run away from the murderers attempting to kill them. Rather they have stood up to the terror, staring it in the eye, defeating it.
Tonight, almost exactly one year after being shot, Matanel Meshulam is marrying Inbar, ready to begin his own family, a family that will undoubtedly be imbibed with faith, personifying the ideal of settling the land, together with Torah study, within the framework of the highest ethical and moral standards. Due to the lack of space at the moment in Hebron, the young couple will begin their married life only a few minutes away, in the community of Bat Ayin, in Gush Etzion. The very fact that Matanel is continuing in the footsteps of his parents is a victory for Am Yisrael in its war against an enemy wishing to destroy us.
In 1995, following the missile attack on the Meshulam home, then 10 year old Bat-El was interviewed on Israeli radio, only hours after the missile exploded in her kitchen. When the interviewer asked her if she wanted to stay in Hebron she answered affirmatively. When asked why she answered, “I feel very lucky to live in Hebron This is the City of the Patriarchs. I live near Ma’arat HaMachpela. I have the privilege to pray there.Now I’m going to walk to Ma’arat HaMachpela to say
“Birchat HaGomel” (a blessing of thanksgiving) for the miracle that happened to me this morning“.
Bat-El was the first of four Meshulam children that have made the blessing for miracles in the past seven years. And those miracles are starting to bear fruit, beginning tonight, with Matanel Meshulam’s wedding.
With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder