By Chana Jenny Weisberg
We have a garden full of beautiful, colorful flowers. But the resident of our garden that’s been getting the most attention recently is our strawberry. Yes, I meant to write that in the singular. Just one. A single strawberry. At first it was white, and then it started getting embarrassed from all the attention and began to blush, and now it’s red. Red!
Every day, my husband and I stand by the strawberry he planted with the kids and look at it, debating whether to pick it now or to give it another day to get even redder. We even share photos of it with family members around the world.
This morning, walking hand-in-hand with my 4-year-old Yaakov by our garden on the way to Gan, I realized that he is like that strawberry. That singular strawberry. Watched. Nurtured. Treasured.
I thought of how sometimes I go to the market and see mountains of strawberries for sale. But every child, for that child’s parent, is always that single strawberry. Like the one growing under our kitchen window.
This morning, on the way to Gan, I told Yaakov that today is Yom HaShoah. “This morning you will hear a siren,” I told him, “and when we hear the siren we all remember the many Jews who were murdered by the Nazis.” And through a choked throat I tried, as best I could, to respond to everything Yaakov wanted to know:
“Eema, who were the Nazis?”
“Eema, and then Hashem made a miracle, right? And some Jews were saved?”
“Eema, like Aharon’s 2 sons, who died. The rabbi told us in Gan.”
And then Yaakov said: “Eema, afterwards we made a war against the Nazis! Right?”
And I thought about that one. How after the war, we Jews didn’t go to war against the Nazis; these people who took each precious Jew – man, woman, boy, girl – and turned us into a swarming mountain of suffering and death. We didn’t pick up weapons and take revenge against the nation that had murdered 6 million members of Am Yisrael.
But looking down at my Yaakov, at my child in his kippah, curly blond peyos, tsitsiot down to the knees … in this singular, precious, treasured Jewish child I felt our never-taken revenge, I felt our victory.