I n the wee hours of morning, as the world slumbers, the phone rings shrill. I fumble out of sleep and into a nightmare.

“Your son’s been in an accident. He’s in critical condition. Come.”

We rush to the airport and take the first flight out of London to Israel, the terse conversation with the hospital pounding in my head.


My summer baby.

We coast through the clouds, and my thoughts fly back almost two decades.

Our son was born during the Nine Days, and we wanted to give him a name connected with the Beis Hamikdash. With rebuilding. We found out that Zerubavel had built the second Beis Hamikdash, but didn’t have much affinity for that name, so we probed a little deeper. Shealtiel was Zerubavel’s father, the one who drew the plans for the Beis Hamikdash, plans his son followed in the building of Hashem’s Home on this earth.

So what’s in a name?

Shealtiel, my 19-year-old son, had decided to major in architecture; like his namesake, he wanted to draw building plans. He’d applied to university, but deferred his acceptance so he could spend a year in yeshivah in Eretz Yisrael. Shealtiel, connected soul that he is, loved that year so much, he deferred university for a second year.

And now this, a horrific car accident. As he was making arrangements for a friend to get home from a wedding.

That’s the way an accident would happen to him. He is one of the kindest young men I know.


The question sears. My heart thrashes —


We land and head straight for Ichilov hospital. Shealtiel is frighteningly still, white, surrounded by beeping — blood pressure, intracranial pressure — all hopelessly out of whack.

“What about the monitor up there?” my husband says.

I look around and up. “What else is there?”

“Hashem’s monitor,” he says simply.

I don’t trust myself to respond.

In the room, Shealtiel’s tefillin lie forlorn. My husband, a staunch Chabad chassid, has them checked. The tefillin shel yad are kosher, but the tefillin shel rosh are not. The shemirah on his head was not quite right, and he was hurt only in the head. To make things even clearer, the mezuzah on the doorpost in his room has one word smudged out: “Yerichun” — from the phrase ‘Lmaan yerichun yemeicha’….

A sofer carefully corrects the issues, and hope wheedles its way in. Maybe now that we’ve seen Your Hand, please Hashem…

But days pass and our son is still unconscious. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 560)