This is not Divine Will
(August 12, 1999)
by Naomi Ragen
When I was a little girl, my parents forgot my baby brother in his
carriage in the supermarket. Twenty minutes later, they ran back and found him, alive and
well. As a mother, I remember the time my two year -old wandered off while I was busy
shopping. Ten minutes later, I found him walking down Jaffa Road, surrounded by a crowd
that told me what a horrible mother I was. I agreed. Thank God, I was lucky. He
didnt walk into traffic. He too, was found, alive and well.
And so, as a daughter and a mother and now a grandmother, I am not prone to be
judgemental when I hear of momentary parental lapses. I try to understand.
But how a parent forgets a child for hours, enough time for him to die of heat
exhaustion in a locked car, is hard for me to understand. I try to picture it. Everyone
climbs out of the car. O.K. There are lots of kids. I glance at each one. If theres
a baby, dont I check it we took his pacifier, or his bottle? Isnt that
natural? Before I put the milk into the refrigerator, or I worry about taking the kids
swimming in the Kinneret, dont I glance over to my husband to see whos got the
baby? And during those several hours when Im together with my kids, dont I
notice one child is missing? And if I dont, what does that say? Perhaps, that
Im used to not knowing where all of my children are.. That Ive simply got too
many for me to care for.
Reading about the funeral of the baby from the Golan, I remember being struck by
the things that were said: The will of God, the religious grandparents said. The mystery
of His ways. And now there will be another funeral of another child, with probably the
same things being said. And I wonder: Can it be the will of God that people have more
children then they can care for?