Dreaming of Moshiach

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gift of Life: Student From Mercaz Harav, Thurs. night


I was in the dormitory room when it happened. I was in the midst of packing up my clothing for Shabbat when I heard 2 loud booms. At first I thought it was nothing, just Purim crackers. But when I heard it again, the 'booms' were very loud with deafening echo. I opened the door of my room and looked in the hallway and saw one of the students running towards his room, right across from my room. I asked him what happened, and with panick in his eyes, he answered "Terrorists!," and locked the door to his bedroom.

Quickly I also closed my door as well as shut the light and hid under one of the beds and that's when I heard another bundle of loud gunfires being shot, the shooting had such a high echo. After a few restless seconds, I decided to try to escape. I went to the porch to try escaping from there even though my room is on the 4th floor, 4 floors above the ground. From the sound of the shooting, it sounded like the terrorists were on the first and second floor. I was afraid to stay because it's known from past experiences that terrorists may attempt to go from room to room to kill anyone they see.

All I really wanted to do was to climb down and run far away from there but there was nothing to hold on to deliver me safely to the ground. I climbed over the porch's gate and was hanging between heaven and earth.

I saw underneath me tens of guys jumping down to the ground from the first, second, and third floors. They looked like they were 'spilling' outside, as if they are possessed. I saw one guy landing on the ground and crying for help and his friends returned to help him run away. I saw the Rav that was supposed to be giving a shiur at these moments uncertain how to jump from the second floor to the ground, but the Rav was not young and was afraid to make the jump. Finally, a bunch of guys helped him and he managed to get to the ground and run away.

I was stuck, I had no safe route to get to the ground. From the neighborhood homes, I heard people yelling, "Come to us, whoever wants, come to us." But I could not find an escape route. Meanwhile a freind joined me and we were both very frightened to stay or to jump. Underneath us, on the third floor, another student was also standing on the porch and was afraid to jump.

I felt trapped, I was unable to protect myself, I was unable to run away. May HaShem protect me, how much I wanted to run away from this building. The shooting continued, long precious minutes passed but for me, it was as if time stopped. Every second I expected to hear footsteps running towards me, seeing terrorist enter my room, capturing and killing me. My only backup plan was to climb onto another porch in case the terrorists tries to shoot me. Maybe this would save me...

But nothing, the shooting continued. HaShem protect us, I was so petrified. I felt that death is knocking and so near. I knew that death is a reality and is not far away from me. Like every Jew, I began saying Tehillim, all the time I was saying Tehillim. In between Tehillim, I said Kriat Shema, SHEMA ISRAEL HASHEM ELOKEINU HASHEM ECHAD. I was trembling and quaking in fear, I felt that this is the last time I'll ever be able to say Shema Israel.

The shooting did not stop, there were some breaks in between the shootings but it would not stop. Why is the shooting not stopping? Where are the rescuers? Please HaShem, save me, I don't want to die. Please HaShem help me, please make the terrorists stop hurting us.

Underneath me people were walking around like nothing was happening but the neighborhood's children were yelling to the people, "Run away, there are terrorists here, boom, boom, boom, war, terrorist attack." They ignored the children. Maybe they thought it was a purim joke. But then another burst of bullets were heard and that's when people starting panicking and running away.

Underneath me from the third floor I heard my friend sighing and weeping while saying Tehillim with great concentration. I try to calm him down and I tell him that I think the shooting is coming from the other building. Meaning, the terrorists are distancing away from us.

After 9 horrible minutes, I decided somehow, I'll find a way and I am going down. I hanged on to the exterior porch gates of the fourth floor and let go. Without holding on to anything, I succeeded somehow to navigate my body to fall safely inside the porch of the third floor.

I see my friend saying Tehillim and I instruct him to stay put while I advance to the second floor. I looked around and saw an air conditioner - perfect, exactly what I needed for my escape. I instruct my friend to come with me and while hanging on to the air conditioner, I was able to lower my body safely inside the porch of the second floor. From there to the first floor and to the ground. My friend was following my steps and as soon as we hit the ground, both of us broke into a wild race out of the Yeshiva grounds. On the street policemen aimed above our head to protect us from the terrorists and were yelling to us, "Run, run."

Trust me, we were running. I run about 20 meters without ever looking backwards. I heard my name and looked up and saw my friends standing on a neighbor's porch. Before I went upstairs to them, I was stopped by people who were asking me to tell them what is happening in the Yeshiva but I said, "What do I know?. You probably know better than me because you heard the news. I just came out."

As soon as I reached my friends, I took someone's cellular (I forgot my cell in the room, together with my heart) and called home. I was so worried that my family heard about the terrorist attack at the Yeshiva but were unable to reach me. Every minute counts so much in these critical moments when a parent or a child cannot get thru to one another. I spoke to my mother a few minutes and not to frighten her, I navigated the conversation to the trip I was on last week. Afterwards, I called my friend to tell him I'm ok and this way, all the students were able to keep track of who is safe and who is not yet. I realized that it was so good that I called my friend because they were all sure I was in the library. The library is the usual place I can be found.

While we were keeping track of who is safe, we continued saying Tehillim. I went outside the apartment to look for my friends from the Yeshiva and after a few minutes I found the first one. I am not a psychologist but I understood that he was in a bad emotional state. I tried to calm him down and then I saw some more friends and took him to them. They hugged him and each other and each had a story to tell how they got out safely. It was therapeutic for all of us to have emotional support from each other. May HaShem protect us because many of us are very traumatized.

The story doesn't end here. At about midnight, they gathered all the students in the yeshiva and the Rabbanim told us the names of the boys that were mercilessly murdered and the names of the boys that were injured. I cannot and will not describe the crying of the Rabbanim and students... I cannot describe our loud heartbeats and louder cries.

Finally, at 3:30 am I went to bed.

But the story doesn't end here. On Friday the phones did not stop till Shabbat entered. Again I was being tested. One cannot feel sorrow on Shabbat Kodesh, one cannot mourn on Shabbat Kodesh. I couldn't stop the tears. 3 of my friends were killed. Shabbat, oy, Shabbat.

I am grateful to HKB'H for allowing me to have strength thruout the ordeal.
I am grateful to HKB'H for allowing me to restraint myself
I am grateful to HKB'H for allowing me to have the necessary strength to be with my friends, at time of need.

I am grateful to HKB'H for giving me the gift of life.

It's 3:20 am and I'm sitting in my dormitory bedroom on the fourth floor where it all began. I will end with a pasuk from Prophet Yirmiyahu, zs'kl.
"כה אמר ה' קול ברמה נשמע נהי בכי תמרורים רחל מבכה על בניה מאנה להנחם על בניה כי איננו. כה אמר ה' מנעי קולך מבכי ועיניך מדמעה כי יש שכר לפעולתך נאם ה' ושבו מארץ אויב. ויש תקוה לאחריתך נאם ה' ושבו בנים לגבולם"
Says HaShem: Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says HKB'H; and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for your future, says HaShem; and your children shall return to their own border

May you all have a good week and a good and an excellent month,

ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות
Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds

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והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו