Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Letter To My Daughter On Her Birthday

Below is a letter that I wrote to my daughter on her first birthday in 2003. I plan to give it one day when she is old enough to understand.

August 9, 2003

My little one:

Today is your birthday and you are now a year older. I want to tell you a story, a true story that happened on this date one year before you were born.

On August 9, 2001, a Palestinian suicide bomber walked into the Sbarro restaurant in downtown Jerusalem and detonated himself. Fifteen people were killed and 130 were injured. The bomb was packed with nails, screws, and bolts to intensify the damage. The people in the restaurant were murdered simply because they were Jewish.

Among those injured in the bombing was a little girl named Haya.

Haya and her family were waiting in line waiting to get pizza when the explosion occurred. A witness to this horrible scene related seeing Haya’s family, "They were actually burning. Then Haya’s brother cried out ‘Daddy, Daddy, save me!’ and the father yelled back to him ‘Don’t worry, say with me Shema Yisrael.’ And suddenly there was quiet…"

Haya’s mother, father, and three siblings did not survive.

Haya was left an orphan at 8 years old. From her hospital bed, Haya Schijveschuurder told a radio reporter these words, "Hashem knows what He’s doing. He wants to tell us that we need to behave a little bit better and that soon Moshiach will come and that then all the dead will rise again."

Why did I tell you this story? I told this story to connect you to our people and to our history. I told you this story to make you sensitive to the suffering and pain of others. I told you this story so you would learn the words of this little girl whose faith is an example to us all.

Remember this story every year on your birthday. Give tzedakah to the Jews in Eretz Israel in their memory. Learn to see everyday as a blessing and as an opportunity. Remember, the only thing you truly posses is time. Time itself is a gift.

May the Ribbono shel Olam always have nachas from you little one.

Love,

Daddy

12 Comments:

At August 9, 2005 at 11:25:00 AM EDT, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

That is a nice letter.

 
At August 9, 2005 at 12:02:00 PM EDT, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

That was beautiful. A happy birthday to your little one.

 
At August 9, 2005 at 5:42:00 PM EDT, Blogger Pilot Mom said...

Do you write a letter to your children on each of their birthdays? We have done that and our son treasures them.

May your daughter's day be full of joy! :)

 
At August 9, 2005 at 6:57:00 PM EDT, Blogger Smooth said...

What a great demonstration of love you have presented to all of us. Beautiful.

 
At August 9, 2005 at 7:56:00 PM EDT, Blogger Anshel's Wife said...

You are so amazing.

My grandmother wrote letters to my father every year on his birthday and gave them to him when he was 18.

My father wrote letters to me (and then my sisters) on my birthday and we read them all the night before I got married. These letters were all about what was going on in our family and the world, but none of them were as touching as the letter you wrote your little girl.

 
At August 9, 2005 at 10:07:00 PM EDT, Blogger torontopearl said...

happy birthday, oh flaming redhead!
and mazel tov to the parents, as well!

 
At August 10, 2005 at 6:27:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Jack, Psycho Toddler, Pilot Mom, Smooth, Yetta, and Pearl - I appreciate your comments and well wishes to my little red head. Thank you!

As for Pilot Mom's question, I do not write them a letter each year on their birthday, but do write to both my son and daughter when I feel I have something to pass along to them. I am saving these letters to give to them one day when they can understand them.

 
At August 10, 2005 at 4:33:00 PM EDT, Blogger Pilot Mom said...

I'm glad to hear it! :) Joy to you today...

 
At August 11, 2005 at 7:18:00 AM EDT, Blogger Ezzie said...

Wow. Chills and watering eyes.
Excellent idea - writing a letter to children to read in the future. My brother wrote a few for me when he was younger and I was a baby, I can tell you how touching it was to read them when I was a teenager. Your daughter iyH will appreciate it as well.

 
At August 9, 2006 at 6:24:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Neshama said...

You are truly remarkable, and the idea of a letter to your daughter is worth more than money (an inheritance). I can almost see your daughter clutching those letters to her heart many years from now, with tears streaming down her cheeks, in order to hug her father who loved her so much.

It can be compared to Hashem promising to redeem us from this miserable golus. It can make a person jealous, jealous for that kind of love that no one but a parent can give.

(ps I'm thinking about that blog)

 
At August 9, 2006 at 6:24:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Neshama said...

You are truly remarkable, and the idea of a letter to your daughter is worth more than money (an inheritance). I can almost see your daughter clutching those letters to her heart many years from now, with tears streaming down her cheeks, in order to hug her father who loved her so much.

It can be compared to Hashem promising to redeem us from this miserable golus. It can make a person jealous, jealous for that kind of love that no one but a parent can give.

(ps I'm thinking about that blog)

 
At August 11, 2006 at 12:15:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Zohreh Afshar said...

Very painful story... It's been 5 min. since I've been trying to comment however I couldn't come up with the right words. I am sure that Haya's family will be in Heaven.
I totally agree with Neshama, your lexemic gift to your daughter has value epic of proportions.
I wish her a very happy birthday.

 

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