The Goldwassers at Ehud’s Funeral (image source)
That’s what I kept thinking as I read the words of Miki Goldwasser and Karnit Goldwasser at the funeral of Ehud Goldwasser. Noble people. Noble words. The heart and soul of Israel.
Both women spoke to the coffin and at the same time, to the nation of Israel. One, the mother, Miki, showed a toughness that one sees with many Israeli women of a certain age. The other, Karnit, spoke more softly and beautifully of her lost husband and lover. Their Hebrew was of such quality and beauty that it made me think of biblical poetry. This was the juicy, ripe fruit of Hebrew’s revival over the past 130 years.
But their message was the most noble element of their speeches. They spoke of the deceased Ehud lovingly, a family parting from a loved one, and not only for themselves but for their entire nation. Karnit spoke of Ehud’s love for the “moledet” which I guess translates into “homeland” or “nation of birth.” This love for the moledet was a part of him, she said, and part of his motivation to serve his country, Israel. It may have brought about his death, together with that of Eldad Regev, but the larger cause was clear to him. It was important to him.
The mother, Miki, spoke to the people of Israel and said to them, “zikpu komatchem” which I think translates into “straighten up” or “raise yourselves up.” You won the war, she told the nation, so raise yourselves up and be proud. As her son lay there, killed defending the country, she stood resolute, stone-faced and commanding and told the people of Israel to stand tall and be proud of who they are. It is an incredible thing to see and hear precisely because she’s doing it at the moment of her greatest loss. At her own son’s funeral she did this.
(link to original report)
And it became so clear, watching these women speak, that the trade – difficult and imbalanced as it was – had to be made. These families sacrificed their loved ones for an idea that a place for the Jewish people was necessary, important, just and good AND the reality that such a place can not exist without the commitment of the nation to send its husbands, fathers, sons and brothers off to war. The least the nation could do is sacrifice to bring them back to their families, even dead.
Stand tall and proud. Miki Goldwasser orders it.