THE LITTLESOLDIERBy: Ian Blaustein and Jordan Katz
As Benjamin and his father, David,walked home from mincha services Fridayafternoon, they passed a group of young menwearing matching green uniforms. Amazed bythe men, Benjamin immediately ran from hisfather‟s hand to talk to these mysterious men.“Get back here!!” yelled David as Benjamin ranoff, but it was too late.
Marching in a single file line through thestreets, the uniformed men ignored Benjamin‟squestions. “Who are you?” Benjamin asked, “Why areyou marching like that? Why do you have to wear thosematching green uniforms?”But just as Benjamin caught up to the soldiers,his father pulled him back by the shirt. “Come onBenji, we need to get home for Shabbat dinner, yourmother‟s going to be worried sick,” scolded David.
Later that night at Shabbat Dinner, everyone sat down to say the brachot.-“Baruch Atta Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Hamotzi Lechem MinHaaretz” Amen!As the Goldberg family finished blessing the challah and sat down fortheir weekly Friday night Shabbat meal, Benjamin, the youngest boy,asked his father, “Abba, who were those men marching in those greenuniforms on the street today?”-“Benjamin, those were Tzahal soldiers; they defend the state of Israelso that we can live peacefully in our home.”-“I want to be a soldier Abba!! I love the country of Israel and I want tomake sure that our family can always live here.”
-“You know what Benjamin,” said hisgrandfather Jacob, “I wore one of thoseuniforms long ago, except back then wedidn‟t call it the Tzahal.”-“Really grandpa? Tell me all about it!”
-“Benjamin, when I was just a few years older than you, I wasa member of a group called Hashomer.”-“What was the Hashomer, Sabba?” asked Benjamin, with aconfused look on his face.-“Simply put, it was the defense force for the Jews during theearly 1900s. Created in 1909, it protected pieces of land thatthe Jews received from a major fund, called the JewishNational Fund. Hashomer literally means „the guard.‟ Theyprotected land from a people called the Arabs that believedthat the land the Jews were settling was theirs.”
-“Wow, grandpa! You were so brave!” exclaimedBenjamin.-“Thank you Benji, but it was all for you, so youcould live here peacefully with your family.”Rivka, Benjamin‟s mother, placed the food onthe table and Benjamin and his family ate,enjoying each other‟s company.
-“Benjamin, you know your grandfatherwasn‟t the only one at this table to fight forthe land of Israel” said David.-“What do you mean Abba?” asked Benjamin.-“Well when I was just a teenager I fought forIsrael‟s freedom just like your grandfather.”
-“Really? Were you in the Hashomer too?”inquired Benjamin.-“No son, by the time I was old enough to fight forthe Jewish people, the Hashomer wasn‟t aroundanymore.”-“So who‟d you fight for Abba?”-“Well, son, I was a member of the Haganah.”-“What‟s the Haganah, Abba?”
-“Well, son, the Haganah was formed in 1920,” David started.-“Wow, you‟re really old Abba!” exclaimed Benjamin.-“Well maybe, but not as old as your grandfather, Jacob”chuckled David. “Anyway, the Haganah was created in 1920 asa Jewish defense force to defend the Jews in Palestine. I joineda few years later in 1935 because I wanted to help defend mypeople and help the Jews win possession of the land ofIsrael. My time fighting in the Haganah was hard and scary,but I did it all for you, Benjamin, because I wanted you to beable to live freely in the wonderful land of Israel.”
-“Abba, that‟s amazing! I can‟t wait to help defend myfavorite country in the whole wide world, Israel!”-“Nothing would make me prouder, son. But youwouldn‟t be joining the Haganah, you would be joiningthe Tzahal…remember the soldiers we saw walking?-“Yes, Abba, the ones I ran up to! I asked them a bunchof questions, but before they could answer, you pulledme back. I can‟t wait to join the Tzahal when I‟m oldenough!” Shouted Benjamin.
––10 YEARS LATER––Ten years later, as Benjamin packed his bags inpreparation to leave to join the Tzahal, a pamphletadvertising the Tzahal fell out of his bag. After picking itup, Benjamin read to himself the ideals of the Tzahal.“Always respect the values of others” Benjamin read,“value the dignity of human life.”Before having the chance to read more, Rivka yelled,“dinner‟s ready!” Benjamin quickly put the book downand ran downstairs.
After Benjamin finished packing, he sat down atthe dinner table for his last Shabbat meal beforeleaving to join the Tzahal, Israel‟s DefenseForce.With tears in their eyes, Rivka and David said,“We‟re going to miss you, but you‟re doingwhat‟s best for our beloved country. We love youwith all our hearts!”Benjamin, now much older, exclaimed, “I can‟twait to make you proud!”
Benjamin walked outside to meet with thearmy officers who would bring him to theTzahal‟s army base.He waved to his family in the window andthey waved back.
WORKS CITED Dershowitz, Alan M. The Case for Israel.Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2003. Print. "Google Images." Google Images. N.p., n.d. Web.18 Feb. 2013. Klein, Leslie. “Lectures and Zionism and theJewish defense forces.” Beth Tfiloh High School,Baltimore. MD. 15 Jan. 2013. Lecture.