This I remember. It was today. I was veiled, like a bride, like Moses they say, like G-d, even, when He hides His face in shame. I am only three. But I am, and my mother Tzipporah is not. And my Babba Batya, Tzipporah’s mother is not. I am like Tzipporah- she no longer has a mother and I do not either. But they have G-d and I have G-d- on two sides of the story of life. I was veiled by mother’s long waving dress as she was shot in the breast and I was born between her thighs again. Her mother was shot next in the taxi, holding her daughter’s head in her arms. I don’t know who is born and who is lying everyone in the air knows less. How could G-d squeeze in there? G-d was released there better. It was all one flesh and one leather in a song un tuned. There were two Arabs killed too. The driver and his assistant- everyone dies from the outside. But I was made to be alive from the inside. Another rider and his son from the taxi had his moment of bullet and mind-flashing and they lay fast under the car where the steel could not see. And a cousin who hid like a cowardly Jew under G-d’s skirt, a Talis, of the great rebbe-screaming, “who shall live!”
I shall tell You, G-d, a few things, tonight, my Father. But I need to curl my whole payus head. Now I’m under the stars. But my mother Tzipporah, just because she wanted to for me, troubled the sun. Am I Binyamin again and she Rachel? Did I tell you about the wedding, I sang in? Nazi wounds would not touch our shores the Rabbi there said that, 1939, May. I knew this about You and Your secret. (Because my big brother, Moshe, was studying our Gemorrah with the wondrous lamed-vavnik vision toucher, the Hazon Ish) I shall live. At three years old I shall live, differently.
I wasn’t killed that day and I wasn’t born that night, but I was whooshed under the car because the Arabs on camel-back came back hunting. They said there was a girl; they could swear there was a Jewish girl. I wasn’t a little girl; I am still in my mother’s womb, I said in my head, “I can decide, when and where to be born now, not G-d anymore, I can be born with my eyes open”. And then we walked just down the dirty road to the British police headquarters in Carmiel and there the uniformed men were too tired to be bothered about the pounding heart of a little girl and a silly old man and his son, and the coward man with the skirt of G-d that screams from the European Rebbe she shall live with this forever.
So I spoke into my hands (some people pray into their hands, and squeeze always from them, but I speak to them) what will my big brother Moshe do? Will he push those British heartaches to runaway because that’s no way to curl a head full of payus in a Jewish nation? Will brother Budik tell the camel marauders you can’t murder us away from our holy sites? Will my big sister Nechama tell holed up father, ‘kiss and kiss and kiss this little girl”? Fatel will not let G-d hide in the car. And will my big sister Bilah not let anyone ignore me again? Because I will never let G-d be invisible again. Please, G-d, please remind me to remember that forever.
G-d decides one big thing though. G-d decides when to hide His face. And then He burns and burns and burns a hole in the veil. One person will coax Him out, but careful, he knows he will be kissed in his death. (He goes to the desert to do all this.) He loves the place that has no clouds (where the sun can have no veil). And then He destroys the whole world. Moshe the runaway prince got there first and saw G-d alone. Later, the Berditchiver. Only the ones that are very alone- Like me. “Get my tallis veil out to Israel to the holy city of Tzfat. Let it be our ketubah, our visa in heaven. Send it to Rivka, the teacher of G-d’s Torah. Let it be in a taxi on the way home from a Haifa wedding, let the little girl’s hand grasp and squeeze the tzitzit I kiss and kiss and kiss every morning on the day of her mother’s death as she walks from the steel coffin down the little dirty road to the British police headquarters. And the world was an inferno and the night long, but the day will not die on this earth because of the little girl who saw G-d alone.