SHIELDING THE LIGHT OF JUSTICE
SAMPLE FROM CHAPTER FOUR
Micki thought about the man in front of him and how he had come into his life. Micki
around the beehive of activity. Each one of the people working in their communication
center were dedicated to serving their people. Yet, head and shoulders above them all was
General Seth Har Zahav. At that moment Micki made a life changing decision. “Elisha
and Seth would you come to me to my office. I want to discuss something important with
“Is everything okay,” Elisha asked his father.
“I need the two of you for about twenty minutes.”
“Of course, do you need something?”
“What I need is to talk about your late brother Benyamin.”
“Aba, what happened?”
Micki smiled at the two of them. He reached out and rested his hand on Seth’s
shoulder. “The three of us need to fill in the gaps of an important story. I was looking at
Seth and how he has been such a huge part of our lives and the reason he is with us
Alarms went off in Elisha’s head. Elisha knew the overall story of how his brother
died. “Aba what is going on here?”
“Seth has dedicated his entire life to the fulfillment of the prophecy. The situation
reminds me of King David when he was dying and told his son Shlomo who to punish
and which friends to establish a friendship between families that would last for
generations. I am not a young man and as Seth has been an important part of my
administration, he should be an important part of yours.
Alarmed Elisha feared for his father and it showed in his face.
Micki reached out and caressed his son’s bearded face. “Don’t be afraid. My time to
step down is rapidly approaching.”
“Do you want me to get mother?”
“No, she always seems so strong, but this is a subject that brings her to tears quickly. I
don’t want to do that unnecessarily.” Micki paused thinking how he should continue.
“There are a number of details that I never told you. You need to know more about
Seth and his relationship with us.”
“Seth and Benyamin grew up together from the age of four. They weren’t the closest
of friends until they went to yeshiva high school. Seth came from a family with a long
history of educators, career military men and judges. The two boys were accepted in the
paratroopers and joined the army at the same time,” Micki said.
“Yes, that part of the story I know. After basic training they went to NCO training.
Then they parted and went to different companies, but both went to Officer training
school at the same time,” Elisha said.
“I remember at their graduation how proud we all were when four different Hoshiyans
officer candidates graduated with honors. You were so excited I thought you would break
out the banner of the King’s Guard,” Elisha said.
Micki laughed thinking about the graduation. Then went silent.
“Aba are you looking at the photo of Benyamin and Seth standing with their arms
around each other's shoulders,” Elisha asked?
In a hushed voice Micki replied, “Yes.” He took a few seconds to calm down. “Your
sister, Herut took the picture of the them the afternoon the two of them had graduated
from Officer Training School. It is a portrait of hope, friendship, and a bright future. I
keep it on my desk to remind me what my goals are for our people.” Micki said.
Micki continued his story. “Seth and Benyamin were assigned to the same company
in the 890th battalion as platoon commanders. We were all concerned, especially your
mother and Mrs. Har Zahav. It was the first time that two Hoshiyan officers served in the
same company at the same time.”
“Is that the reason you opposed my Benyamin and Yoshua’s son David from serving
together,” Elisha asked?
“Yes, I admit it was from fear of what might happen to them.”
“Aba, maybe together they can watch over each other,” Elisha suggested.
“Like your brother and Seth. Do you want your son to fall on a grenade to save
“Of course I don’t want that, but how did our ancestors do it,” Elisha asked?
“The Light of Justice helped deliver into the world many of those men who later died
in his arms as he tried to save their lives after battles. Each death was like a knife in the
heart, especially for him. I understand our ancestor for we have both had our sons die in
our arms.” The tears fell freely from Micki’s eyes. He clenched his teeth to stop the cry
that came from his soul.
“Aba, are you sure you want to continue,” Elisha asked?
“Yes, I need to tell you. As you know I was for many years the chief surgeon of the
Paratroopers Regiment. I was so proud that your brother followed me into my beloved
regiment. Three months before your brother Benyamin and Seth were to be discharged
from the army the Yom Kippur war broke out.”
“In the middle of avenue malkenu (our father our king) the soldier walked into the
synagogue with a call-up list. We stopped immediately and he called out the names of
those men being called up for duty. My name was the first. As a surgeon I always had
two big duffle bags of surgical supplies with me in case of war.”
“Yes, I remember you handing me your tallit, which I folded and put away. Mother
and Herut went to the kitchen to prepare you food, while I helped you pack.”
“A jeep waited for me and my equipment. I was needed immediately. There were
already many causalities.”
“What followed was a nightmare of horrors. I don’t remembered how many operations
I performed to save the lives of the paratroopers of our beloved regiment. “I didn’t get
any rest for the first sixty-five hours. I was so busy I didn’t have time to worry about my
sons. Chaim’s position in the Intelligence Corps kept him out of direct combat.
“Life was chaotic. Helicopter after helicopter brought us the wounded and the dead. I
gave the job of selecting who stayed at the field hospital and who would be sent on to
hospital at home to my chief paramedic.”
“On the fifth day of the war your brother showed up at my field hospital escorting two
of his badly wounded men.”
“Aba I read Benyamin’s letter to Ima. He wrote how surprised he was when he saw
“Yes, I saw the shock on his face. I remember looking down at himself and then at my
reflection in a stainless steel tray. There were huge bags under my eyes and blood
covered most of my surgical gown. Once again I hadn’t slept for two days.”
“Aba, you don’t look so great,” Benyamin said to me. Seeing your brother was better
than a ten hour sleep. I felt such a rush of adrenalin. I wrapped him arms around him and
repeatedly kissed him all over his face. We only had ten minutes together before the
helicopter that brought Benyamin had to return to the front.”
“Before he ran off, I placed his hands on his head and blessed him, “Remember to say
the King’s blessing before you fire your weapon. May sure that your bullets kill only
those that deserve it. May the Holy One Blessed be He watch after you and your men and
bring them home safe. I kissed him one last time”
“I didn’t know that you saw Benyamin before he was wounded,” Elisha said.
“Yes, it was fantastic. The copilot called to Benyamin to come running and they took
off the second he got in the chopper. We waved to each other as the helicopter lifted into
“During the next days, hundreds of wounded men needed my care.”
“I think Seth needs to tell the next part of this story. Do you know the history of the
battle of the Chinese Farm,” Micki asked?
Seth took up the story. “Sharon wanted to take the war to the Egyptian side of the
canal. All of the officers of the battalion were called together so they could explain the
battle plans. Our battalion commander explained while pointing out locations on a huge
map behind him. “To cross of the Suez Canal, the army has to protect the advancing force
from the counterattacks on their flanks.” He pointed to a location known as the Chinese
Farm. Colonel Amnon Reshef led the 14th Brigade into an ambush by entrenched
Egyptians on the night of Oct. 15, 1973. They lost one hundred and twenty men and
sixty-two wounded in very fierce combat.”
Micki interrupted Seth. “Danny Matt led most of the regiment over the canal to attack
the Egyptians from behind. My field hospital was the closest to the battle. So we got all
the wounded. When the wounded from the battle started to arrive I became so busy that I
didn’t know day from night,” Micki said.
Micki nodded to Seth to continue. “The following night, the 890th Paratrooper
Battalion, Benyamin and Seth's attacked. Their losses were forty-one dead, and more than
a hundred were wounded trying to capture the Chinese Farm.”
Seth turned slightly in his chair so he could face his friend’s brother. “Our company
advanced under fire. My platoon attacked the left flank and your brother’s platoon had
the center. We were in constant radio contact. “I called him after 20 minutes. I’m taking
a lot of casualties. Fighting is hand-to-hand close quarters.”
“Seth, I have loss already twelve men and 22 wounded. There is only ten of us left
fighting. I need help to extract my wounded.”
“Benny pull back forty meters to that depression. It will provide you cover. “We just
fought off a counterattack. We use the lull to pull back and regroup.”
“It took your brother and the healthy men an hour to pull all the wounded back to the
depression. I extracted my dead and wounded and we crawled in the sand to reach your
brother’s platoon. As they arrived the Egyptians counterattacked. “Your brother called
out, Seth take the left and I’ll take the right.”
The two units fought for twenty minutes, the number of wounded and dead forced us
to move together to support each other. “Here they come again,” Benny screamed. “Look
out Benny,” I screamed as I leaped on him. I saw the Egyptian firing his AK-47 at him
and wasn’t going to stand by and let the heir-apparent get killed. Benny’s new M-16 fired
away killing the Egyptian.
“My God Seth, you re hit twice,” your brohter said as he tore open his pouch with his
field dressing. “Seth use both of your hands to stop the bleeding in your side and in the
meantime I put a dressing on your leg,” Benny said.
“Why,” Benny asked as he wrapped the straps around his leg and tied the knot
opposite the wound.
“You are the heir apparent. Any Hoshiyan soldier would lay his life down for you.”
“You silly fool, there is no Hoshiyan Army we swore allegiance to the Israeli Defense
Forces,” Benny replied.
“No matter where a Hoshiyan carries arms, he is a Hoshiyan soldier,” Seth said
between grimacing in pain.
“You are a romantic. Wake up, we have return to Eretz Ysrael, there is no Hoshiya,”
Benny said. I grabbed Benny’s hand. “Promise me that you will work to fulfill the
prophecy,” Seth said.
He answered me, “Seth that is the job of our fathers. If it comes to it that our parent’s
generation fail, then we will do it together. Why are you worrying about things like this
in the middle of a battle,” Benny asked?
“It is the key to our future. Isn’t that one of the reasons we are fighting here.”
“Aba, do you agree with Seth,” Elisha asked?
“Yes, I have worked all my life to bring about the fulfillment of the prophecy. Do you
doubt the words of the prophet,” Micki asked?
“No, sir, I have done everything you have asked with Yoshua to realize the prophet’s
“Aba, are you sure you want to continue with the story.”
“Yes, because to speak of your brother gives meaning to my life. I wish I was a tenth
of a man that he became. He inherited that from your mother.”
“Aba, I love you.”
Micki’s tears fell like rain. “I love you my son, with all my heart and soul. Thanks to
your mother we produced children far better than I ever hope.”
“Your brother said, “I am going to drag you back to the medical way station two hundred
meters to the rear.” The Egyptians have already destroyed one armored personnel carrier
trying to evacuate the wounded. Your wounds won’t wait until tanks come to evacuate
us. I know it will be rough on you, but if we stand up we will get killed.”
“Okay I’m ready, let’s get this over with,” I said as Benny began to drag me by the
collar of his shirt. He dragged me to the medical way station. At that moment, the enemy
launched a counterattack on the area of the medical way station. Your brother turned to
defend the wounded just like King Elisha the grandfather of the Light of Justice.
“Grenade,” your brother screamed as he threw his body over mine to protect me. Your
brother must of felt that after I had just saved his life, and now he needed to do the same
for me. He took the full force of blast.”
Elisha got of his chair, walked over to his father, crouched down next to his chair and
threw his arms around his father. The two generation of Arielis chugged each other and
gave strength to one another to overcome their mutual grief.
“Father are you all right?”
Micki took a deep breath and continued the story.
“The helicopters were coming non-stop. I had just finished saving one soldier’s life
when Benyamin and Seth were brought by helicopter to the field hospital. The entire
night had been nothing but the screams of the wounded and the blood of my regiment
flowing into the sands of the Sinai. The floor of my surgical theater was slick from the
blood of the men of our regiment.
Due to the extent of the patient’s injuries Dr. Mizrachi called out, “I need help with
this one. We have multiple bleeding wounds.”
“I’m coming,” I said despite having just finished working for forty hours straight. The
patient’s face was covered in blood, sand and soot. Due to the extensive injuries no one
even checked the identity of the patient. Seth was taken to a different surgical theater.
“Micki cut off his shirt and get a look at the wounds to his torso.” I cut away the
wounded soldier’s shirt and I saw the medallion around my patient’s neck.
“Micki, why have you stopped,” Dr. Mizrachi asked?
I stared at my colleague and realized I needed to do everything possible to save my
son. Your mother and I had given the medallion to Benyamin on his bar mitzvah. It was
the symbol of the royal house of Arieli, three roaring lions stacked in a column.”
“Is the one you gave my son a replica of Benyamin’s,” Elisha asked?
“I felt himself detached from my body. I saw my hands move and my mouth speak,
but I found myself functioning on automatic, patterns of behavior drilled in from
hundreds of operations on soldiers.
“I am finishing with this one in two minutes, and then I will come and help you,” Dr.
Musa Fienberg said next to us.
He picked up the chart to see what had been done up to this point and saw the name
on the chart.
“Micki, this is your son. You shouldn’t be working on him,” Musa Fienberg said. I
answered him, “If the three of us don’t work on him, he doesn’t stand a chance.”
“The three of us worked for five hours non-stop to try to save your brother. The entire
time I removed metal fragments from your brother’s body, I prayed to the Holy One
Blessed be He to give me the strength and knowledge to save my son's life. I watched as
my son's blood seeped between my fingers.’
Micki heard the soft crying of his youngest son. He needed Elisha to understand.
“The number of wounds exasperated our efforts to save him. Benyamin had lost too
much blood. While we removed shrapnel and sewed up his body with tens of stitches, I
prayed for his son’s life. The words of psalm 121 came to his lips.”
Elisha took up the words of King David. “I lift up my eyes to the mountains; from
where will my help come? My help comes from God, Maker of the heaven and earth. He
will not allow your foot to falter; your Guardian will not slumber.”
Micki continued where his son stopped. “I remembered the commentary of Rashi in
which he explains that this psalm alludes to the reward of the righteous in the World to
Come. It sings praise to the Holy One Blessed be He, whose generous mercy rewards the
righteous by allowing them to ascent to the World to Come. I knew what the results were
going to be unless a miracle happened. Even as the three of us stitched your brother’s
wounds, too much blood seeped out of the untreated wounds. I remember redoubling my
efforts. The paramedic constantly wiped the sweat from my forehead.
“Dr. Issacs came over also and looked at your brother’s chart. “Dr. Arieli,” he said,
“don’t you think you should let someone else take over from you? You shouldn’t be
working on your own son,” Dr. Issacs said.
“I thought how I should answer the question. I thought about how my father might
have answered such a question. I drew strength from our family history. The Arieli Kings
of Hoshiya had always treated their Guardsmen as family. I looked around at all the
wounded soldiers and replied, “They are all my sons. This regiment is my family. Each
one of you are my children. Once a paratrooper always a paratrooper.”
“I am humbled by you,” Dr. Issacs said and helped us until he and Musa were called
away to help other wounded. My chief surgical paramedic said to me, “Colonel I am also
humbled by what you said. You are right each one of these men are my brothers.”
“I ordered my paramedic, “Tap into my femoral vein and make a blood transfer
directly into my son. He did it, even though it was against regulations. That way I could
continue to work on Benyamin with my arms unencumbered. Again Against regulations,
I ordered the paramedic to take one and a half units of blood.
To prevent me from fainting, my paramedic setup a saline and glucose drip on into
both of my legs. Almost as fast as my blood flowed into your brother, it seeped between
my fingers from his many wounds.”
Micki paused and considered if he should tell Elisha what happened next.
“I prayed that Hakodosh Baruchu should take my life and leave your brother alive.”
“When we finished operating, one of the paramedics brought me a chair so I could sit
next to your brother. Dr. Mizrachi who had helped me from the beginning stared at me
for thirty long seconds. “I know there is no chance of his survival. However, maybe, just
maybe the Holy One Blessed be He will allow him to wake up so we can say goodbye to
each other,” I told him.
I took your brother’s hand and kissed it. I laid my head on the bed next to him and fell
asleep. I was so exhausted I didn’t hear the helicopter that came to take Seth to Rambam
hospital in Haifa. Benyamin woke up 5 hours later and he spoke to me.
“Aba.” I woke up immediately to find his face contorted in pain. “Aba,” Benyamin
called to me again. “Hold me these last few seconds. The angel is here waiting for me.” I
couldn’t stop my tears. There lay my first born, the little boy that had grown up to be a
warrior, a protector of his people. At that moment I understood Avraham’s feelings when
God asked him to sacrifice his son Itzhak. Nothing less than a miracle could save your
brother’s life. I got up and shifted your brother gently so I could sit on the bed with his
head in my lap.”
“I prayed silently that the Holy One Blessed be He to grant me the ability of our
ancestor, the Light of Justice, to give relief to those who suffer. Tears fell freely and I did
not know what to do. I attempted to maintain my faith in the moment of your brother’s
death. Benyamin helped me.
“Aba, you taught us that God created this world with nothing lacking. If this is my
day to die, then this is the best day for me to Aba. Aba, be happy for me, that I will soon
stand before the Judge of all judges. I will be able to stand before him with a clean heart
and pure soul. Be happy for me to Aba. I have been the luckiest of men, for I have had
the greatest parents, siblings and friends that one could possibly hope for. I have lived a
full life. What more can a man ask for, and now I die sanctifying the name of God in this
world,” your brother said.
“I, Michael, the son of Aharon Arieli was humbled by the spiritual giant that lay in
my lap. Then the Holy One Blessed be He performed a miracle for us. The pain slip from
your brother's face and he smiled up me. I leaned over and kissed his forehead. Benyamin
died three seconds later.
“Baruch Dayan Emet (Blessed be the Judge of Truth)”, I said aloud. The medics came
running, but I stopped them. Then I got up from the bed and covered Benyamin’s face
with the sheet. On his chart and I wrote the time, date and cause of death. The temporary
morgue had been setup in another tent thirty meters away. Instead of taking a gurney, I
lifted my dead son in my arms and carried him out of the hospital tent. Everyone offered
to help me, but I refused their kindness. I wanted to watch over him for as long as
The story of our ancestral, Dr. Michael Arieli, for whom I am named, came to my
mind, because we shared similar situations. That Dr. Michael reminded his nephew of the
law of pikuach nefesh (endangerment of life). They were also in the middle of fighting a
war (the Battle of Oranim during the first year of the Malogoth invasion). After the death
of his brother, King Yona the Pious, Danny's father, that Dr. Arieli had told his nephew,
“Daniel, unfortunately, neither of us has any time to mourn our dead, no matter how
much pain it costs us personally.”
With every step I took the reality of his death sunk into my bones. I hadn’t realize how
exhausted I was. My knees became wobbly, and I started to lose my balance. Then my
legs gave out under me and I sank to my knees as I clutched your brother to my bosom.
The paramedics following me rushed to help me to my feet and relieve me of my burden.
“Thank you, but no. Let me finish this final act of loving kindness for my son. Please
help me to my feet. I struggled to my feet and prayed that God would give me strength to
continue. I knew this would be the last time I would ever hold my son in my arms. I cried
“Hakodosh Baruchu give me strength to finish this last chesed.” The members of the
Rabbinate stood at the entrance to the morgue. I took one step at a time and rested in
between so I could finish without falling again.
The members of the Army's rabbinate took your brother from me. We all knew each
other well. Micki smiled at them and requested. “I commit my son’s body into your care.
He was not just a heroic soldier, but a giant among men. Take care of my son.”
“Dr. Arieli, we would do anything for you. You can rest assured, that we will treat him
with the utmost respect.” I reached out and took the hand offered to me. I turned around
and went back to the field hospital to take care of the living.
“Once back at the operating theater, I went to the small bag that held your brother’s
personal effects. His chain and medallion I placed it in my pocket. The next morning I
receive leave and fly home and bury your brother.”
“Aba, I remember what you did at the grave site. You took out Benyamin’s medallion,
and hung it around Ima’s neck and said, “Keep it close to your heart my love.”
“Yes and she has never removed it.
From the day, they released Seth from the hospital he became like a son to us, trying
to give us a gift of life, just like your brother gave him the gift of life.”