Take a glance at your children. You care about them. After all, they are your children, and you want the best for them, of course.
Who will care for the children of Vaad Harabbanim?
Tens of thousands of little Jews. They are our brothers and sisters. Children who sobbed saying Kaddish at the grave of Father or Mother, who heard screams, who are hungry sometimes, who are embarrassed by their neglected clothing, who know hospitals from the inside. Children of parents who are physically ill or emotionally collapsed, from difficult homes, orphans, enwrapped in poverty and troubles.
We may not know them personally, but we care about them.
They, too, are our children. They are the children of Klal Yisrael. Children who want their cheek to be stroked, a sandwich in a bag, food and zemiros at a family table. Children longing for love, for eyes that look at them and watch over them. They are looking for a hug and closeness.
Chazal instructed us to be careful about them! Hizaharu bivnei aniyim. Every Jewish child is a neshamah hewed from under the Kisei Hakavod. Every Jewish child has his chelek in Torah, and we are responsible to help them grow up healthy and happy and fulfill their potential.
A Jewish child is not to be neglected. We can’t treat neshamos lightly.
Just as the Gedolei Hador daven for our children and bless them, although they never met them, so too, we are responsible for the children of the Jewish people. Because we are all one people. One person, with one heart. Areivim zeh lazeh.
Ruth gently puts the bottle into the mouth of the screaming baby. The baby sucks it for a few seconds and then starts screaming again.
“She is not used to milk substitute.” Ruth cries with the baby. “She wants Mommy.”
But Mommy is not here, only the shocking menachem eivel announcements tell that she was killed in a traffic accident this morning.
Everyone went to the Levayah, confused and thunderstruck. Children aged from eight years to six months. Last night she was here. Today she isn’t anymore.
The orphan baby, panting and sweating, rests her head on Ruth’s shoulder. Who will raise you, poor baby?
Avital and Yoni are dragging their legs behind their uncle and their eyes are shouting out with fear. Father is waiting for them below, for their weekly visit in the framework of visitation rights, and they have to go.
They don’t dare tell what happens there with Father. Only the screams they let out during their frequent nightmares give a hint to Mother that her children are going through something not good.
Now they are receiving treatment. Children with severe mental distress, in need of serious rehabilitation. Responsible parties are struggling to keep Father away from the poor children. Mother, weak and fragile, tries her best to protect them. And we will contribute our part.
“Your Mom lets you?” An admiring circle of friends surrounds Koby, who is throwing his math book into the street with wild laughter.
“My Mom lets me do whatever I want!” Koby goes to retrieve the book, now imprinted with black tire tracks from passing cars. His long, dirty fingernails stick out much more when he holds the ragged book.
Late in the evening he comes back home, and Miri takes him to visit Mother. Mother is hooked up to medical devices in the Oncology department. She smiles to them with a white face, pale as chalk. The nurses give candies to the poor orphans and secretly wipe away tears. Just last year, their father z’’l was lying here…
No one looks at his scribbled tests, or answers phone calls from the yeshiva requesting that Koby’s severe attention disorder be treated.
The neighbors bring over food now and then, Grandma comes to do laundry, and who will help a neglected orphan who terrifies his own mother?
A red-faced child, his rumpled pants tangled up with his shoes, his yarmulke grey from age, drums loud bangs on the door. “My sister Idy…” he pants, “Idy picked up giant scissors. Mommy can’t get them away from her…”
The neighbor comes immediately. He grabs the wild six-year-old girl, holds her arm tightly and extricates the sharp sewing scissors.
Besides Idy, who suffers from severe disorders, there are another two sick children at home, and three healthy children, and exhausted parents despairing of help.
Father works two shifts to cover the exaggerated expenses, creditors lie in wait for him when he comes back tired after twelve hours of work. The private treatments for Idy and the sick children cost a fortune and the home is impoverished beyond description.
Four children and a baby in a carriage are waiting for hours in the playground. It is cold, the weather report is talking about snow, but Mother doesn’t come and the house is locked.
“Let’s go into the apartment building,” says the oldest girl, her teeth chattering.
Mother fought wars that Father should be distanced from the home, and she herself disappears for long hours and doesn’t leave a key.
The neighbors invite the younger ones into their homes and give them supper. The older girls are embarrassed to take help, they wait until six o’clock. Then Mother comes back irritable and yelling, and finally the home opens.
How will healthy children grow up with a mentally disturbed mother and a weak and fragile father? Who will save them?
At the Chumash party, when the children raised up their hands and sang a moving song about the Torah Hakedoshah, Tzviki entered the hall with a wrinkled white shirt, accompanied by a compassionate neighbor. “The father’s condition is not good.”, the neighbor whispers in the ear of the rebbe. “The whole family is in the hospital now, but the child needs to participate in the celebration.”
The child doesn’t look very happy. His face did not shine like the others when he went up on the stage and stood at the end of the singing row. The audience sat, long rows of beaming fathers and grandfathers, none of whom were connected to him.
Father didn’t die that day. He is still hanging on, but Tzviki is sad. He shuffles from one house to another with his shriveled bag. Aunts buy him socks and wash his clothes, and Mother comes sometimes, kisses him and disappears back to Father.
“I am staying here.” Tuvia lies down on the bed in his room in the dormitory, leafs through parsha sheets and slants his eyes toward Eliyahu. “What did you think?”
“And where will you be for Shabbos?”
“Maybe by the Mashgiach.” Pain wells up and oozes out from his indifferent manner of speech. “Or the Rosh Yeshivah… I’ll see. Whoever invites me.”
Eliyahu is shocked. He suddenly notices Tuvia’s worn-out shoes and his glasses held together by scotch tape. Why don’t you go home?”
“Because I don’t have a home.” Tuvia answers tersely.
He doesn’t have a home. His mother is hospitalized in a closed institution and his father lives abroad, he remarried and is not in contact with his family. Tuviah doesn’t have a home, and we – we will be a little bit like his home. With a donation, with support, with love…