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Eliezer Shulman and Binyamin Rose

They buried their two little girls. Now their boys are fighting for their lives hooked up to heart-lung machines. How are Shimon and Michal Gross pushing forward under the crushing weight of their shattered lives?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It’s a little after 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon in a hospitality apartment adjoining Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikvah. With trembling hands, Michal Gross prepares her Shabbos candles.

Less than 48 hours earlier, she and her husband Shimon buried their two little girls, one-year-old Yael and four-year-old Avigayil, after the family was exposed to aluminum phosphide, a poisonous substance used in exterminating theirJerusalemapartment. At press time, their two remaining children, Chaim Michoel Shlomo (ben Michal), seven, and Refael Yitzchak Eizik (ben Michal), five, are still fighting for their lives. State-of-the-art ECMO machines continue carrying out the work of their vital organs, which were infiltrated by the poison. 

At the funeral, hundreds of talmidim from Yeshivas Mir, where Reb Shimon learns, cried along with the bereaved father as he eulogized Avigayil and Yael. “Hashem took Avigayil back to Him — she was a precious treasure,” he said. “She was just four, but so concerned about doing the right thing. She would go out with her pacifier, but asked me if maybe it was a chillul Hashem.” Regarding little Yael: “She just started talking, she just started saying Abba and Ima….”

“To come back from burying two children, to see our remaining boys in critical condition upstairs… what can I say? But we’re optimistic,” Shimon Gross told Mishpacha while keeping vigil on his sedated sons at Schneider. “We know everything is decreed from Above, and we’re not asking why. That’s how we were taught and that’s what we believe. And the One Who gave us these precious children will also give us the strength to deal with what we’re facing. There will be miracles.”

“Soon,” adds Michal.

“Very, very soon,” Shimon qualifies, and adds, “and we need everyone’s tefillos on this together.”

Michal: “Storm the heavens with your prayers! I feel enveloped in the love and concern Am Yisrael has shown in these last days, and I beg — only prayers will help us now. There’s nothing else. Our children are fighting for their lives and the wonderful staff has already done all they can. Our daughters are already gone — we need everyone’s prayers to keep our sons with us. We need to keep them with us.…”


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