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January 1, 2001

i think it's one of the things that i was proudest of and most admiring of all along, that you weren't lazy and you loved to be helpful, even when it meant uphill, in the heat, time when you could have put your feet up - and we did put our feet up plenty together, over plenty of videos and long heart-to-heart talks, especiallyduring the half year before the army and most especially with me the first two years of your army, more frequently with moshe the last year. I was so moved that you came to our room straight from the army, with all your super-heavy bags; you were the best-equipped soldier in the army with the heaviest bags, i'll bet, even occasionally bringing other people's wash to be laundered because they hadn't been home for a while. You were bursting to talk about what you were doing, learning, thinking, and i'd phone moshe at work, knowing he'd want to come and hear, but he didn't usually allow himself that pleasure. You'd tell me about a personal achievement or failure in shooting practice or long runs, of your physical limitations that held you back, of people you respected or some you felt weren't doing their best. So many words and abbreviations i couldn't always follow, but i sat grinning, with shining eyes reflecting your enthusiasms, lapping up your every word while piling on the icecream drinks brownies, pitot with ham and cheese, chumus, moka-drinks and shoko-shakes, MILK which you missed so much.

Moshe loved you with all his being, he was so worried all the time, not only during the army, that something bad would happen to you: tripping and falling down a hill, over-enthusing into dangerous situations of all kinds. He was so moved when he heard fron Yariv that you wanted to come back to the kibbutz after the army and work with him in the factory, "help his father in the mifal." You were always asking me how things were going there, and i told you of all the frustrations. You felt hurt for Moshe, and you spent more time there.

Maya loved you very much. She remembers you fridays, with your lovely half-smile, how you and Peter greeted eachother, how sad fridays are without you! You made each of us feel loved and special. In your last year you'd phone or ask me when you arrived what the latest on each family member was, you'd make yourself little notes of what you wanted to ask the others about, and you'd know to ask about maya's latest race she'd run, or ballet, or something at school: you'd notice her hair and how pretty she was; you were particularly amazed that anyone in the Zirkel/Shenker line could possibly be athletic.

Boaz has always had an older brother, advisor, friend; he looked up to you and enjoyed your relationship, he was only just starting in the army and looked forward to discussing everything with you - but you talked to him lots in 1996, while he was deciding, you tried to get him to be kravi/combat, and in the Nachal; you were mad at him and at us, your parents, that we didn't all think it would be best for Boaz to hide his asthma and that you'd make it okay with his commanders. Boaz told me that you later said to him that he may have been right after all in his choice, and that made him feel much better.

I said this to you when you became an officer: I love you more than any words can say. It was the most precious thing in my life, and amazing to me, that you were my son, that at least physically I'd had some hand in forming you. I love you more than I've ever loved my own life, and if only you could live for five minutes more, feel the wind, see your many friends and drink a glass of cold milk, I'd happily give my life for you. If only.


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