E ven the toughest city, a city whose ancient walls have seen everything, trembles at times. Something cracks in its heart of stone, something breaks. Its tears start to flow, and its people, who consider stabbings and car-rammings almost normal, walk with sad, silent faces.

“Ima, it feels like Yerushalayim is crying today,” said Rivi as she and Faigy walked out of the dental clinic. Tiny slivers of rain fell, dampening their faces, their shoulders.

“Yerushalayim is crying.”

“Can terrorists get into Abba’s shul, too, like they did today in Har Nof?”

“Of course not,” Faigy was quick to reply. “You know Dudi Katz, who davens with Abba? He has a gun, because he’s a construction engineer and he has to go to a lot of building sites. If a terrorist came in, Dudi would stop him right away.” It was a good thing Dudi Katz had chosen a line of work that required him to carry a gun. That way she had a good answer for the children.

Or at least good enough to satisfy little Rivi, who moved on to the next topic: “So are we going to buy shoes for me now?”

“Yes.” The morning of a horrific massacre wasn’t the most appropriate day to be shopping, but she couldn’t let the child go on wearing shoes with holes in them, and besides, Dini needed a math book for tomorrow.

“Oh, look, Ima, that’s so cute!” Rivi pointed toward the Davidka Light Rail Station. “They put big cubes there by the train stop, and somebody painted them to look like a Rubik’s cube!”

“Yes, very cute.” How utterly adorable, to walk through a train stop with your little girl behind big concrete blocks that were put there so nobody could run you over. Next they’ll be handing out bulletproof vests to all the citizens, so they could feel quite safe.

They walked down Rechov Pines toward Geula. “Everyone’s walking fast, and they all look so sad and quiet,” Rivi remarked, with the sharp perception of an eight-year-old. “It looks like Tishah B’Av out here. Ima, if someone is sad, is that what’s called a misanthrope?”

“No,” said Faigy, very surprised. “What makes you say that? Where did you hear that word?”

“At Savta’s house on Shabbos, your brothers were talking, and someone said that Itzik is a misanthrope. I was thinking that it sounds like philanthropy, but then I thought it can’t mean that, because philanthropy is when someone is very nice, and it sounded like he was mad at Itzik when he called him a misanthrope. So what does it mean?”

“Firstly, we don’t talk about people. And girls your age shouldn’t be listening to grown-up conversations, and if they were listening, at least they shouldn’t come asking questions afterwards,” Faigy replied impatiently. She wanted to get the shopping over with, go home and get all the kids to bed, and then go to Har Nof to gather material for an article.

With a new pair of shoes on Rivi’s feet and a math book ensconced in a bag in Faigy’s hand, they walked up the slope of Rechov Malchei Yisrael, homeward.

“Ima, Itzik isn’t a misanthrope at all,” Rivi suddenly announced. “He loves people — especially those foreign workers who live in his building, and I think he also loves Arabs. And I think he kind of loves us, too.”

“Who told you what a misanthrope is?” Faigy asked suspiciously.

“I looked it up in the dictionary,” the little girl replied with a shrewd smile. “Because you wouldn’t tell me, and you said I shouldn’t ask questions. So while we were in the bookstore, and you were busy looking for Dini’s math book, I found a dictionary and looked it up.”

And what had the curious child’s eyes beheld in the dictionary? (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 685)