In the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, the Chabad House (a religious Jewish center) was one of the targeted locations. Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, hy”d, his wife, Rivka hy”d, and their toddler son were among the hostages taken. Both parents were killed before the Indian commandos stormed the building.
The small light in the middle of this horrible tragedy was that their little boy was saved. The woman who cooked for the organization and often took care of their toddler was in the building when it was stormed, and she locked herself into a room as she heard the gunshots. After twelve hours, it was quiet, and she heard the little boy crying. She risked leaving her room – can you imagine the courage that took, to venture out, not knowing where the terrorists were, and to risk the safety of her undiscovered location? -and followed the sound to a different floor in the building, where she saw four unconscious bodies, and next to them, the crying baby with bloodstains on his pants.
She quickly grabbed him and managed to safely get out of the building. The baby, Moshe, turned two years old today. It horrifies me to think of a tiny child like that not only losing both parents, but for the rest of his life, his birthday will mark the anniversary of when he was saved, but when they were killed as well.
Moshe was the youngest of three children, the oldest who died of a degenerative disease earlier this year, and the second child is critically ill and in a hospital in Israel. It’s hard for me to fathon the suffering of this young couple (they were 29 and 28), and I can only find the tiniest measure of comfort because of my belief that a merciful G-d runs the world and that there is a reason for everything, no matter how it seems to me. But my heart is heavy.
May their memories be a blessing, and may H-shem give the parents, relatives, and friends of this very special young couple comfort.