Mixing Moshiach’s Cup
[Editors’ note: Chazal often spoke of mezigas ha-kos, the practice of diluting their strong wine with water. This first-person report allows us to imagine how Moshiach’s kos will be mixed with the tears of our travail.]
I want to tell you about a bottle of wine I got today. This particular bottle contains grapes pressed by Hallel Yaffa Ariel hy’d of Kiryat Arba who was murdered in her bed last week.
This morning my husband Eli got up at 5am and together, with a bunch of friends, drove to Kiryat Arba to join the Ariel family for Rosh Chodesh davening. Well known Jewish singer Shlomo Katz would be there at the Ariel home, leading a very moving “hallel for Hallel”, and Eli wanted to be a part of something so meaningful.
I was not there so I cannot pretend to know the depth of what was going on, but my husband was tremendously moved. By the turnout and the davening certainly, but more so by the Ariel family themselves. Not because these are people with superpowers, but because these are people like you and I who have been thrown into impossible circumstances and yet cling to their faith with unimaginable strength.
In the house where their daughter was murdered in her bed a week ago, Hallel’s mother Rina schmoozes with my husband while she serves coffee to soldiers stationed outside her home, all the while balancing a baby on her hip. She motions to a man, a neighbor and friend and says to Eli, “Come. Come. Shake this man’s hand; he saved my husband’s life.” He is the responder that killed the evil that infiltrated their home and stole their daughter’s life.
Afterwards, Eli sits and hears a d’var Torah from Hallel’s father Avichai, whom by trade runs the family vineyard, but is obviously also a tremendous talmid chacham. He pauses at one point with tears in his eyes and gestures to the book on his lap, “This is…was… Hallel’s Chumash that we used to learn from together every Friday. And now it is just mine.”
And then, after what feels more like a visit with friends or family than a shiva call to strangers, they are ready to leave. On the way out is a case of wine from the family’s vineyard, which contains grapes of the first harvest from which Hallel Yaffa was old enough to help press.. And just this year this wine reached maturity.
I’m not sure when (or if) we’ll be able to drink and enjoy this wine but when we do, you can bet it’ll be for something special.
Our friend who was with Eli bought 2 bottles, “One to drink now, and the other I’m saving for when Mashiach comes. We’ll drink with Hallel herself.”
Kara Wurtzel made Aliyah 6 years ago with her husband and six children. She currently lives in Beit Shemesh.