Friday, November 22, 2002

Lt. Dan Cohen was killed in Hebron a week ago tonight. His parents found this farewell letter:

”Does one human being have a purpose?

The world exists for something that has yet to come, that is yet to happen, and every one of us is an essential part of the development of the world and of humanity with a view to that exalted something.

Therefore, what is required of everyone, and in actual fact the purpose of life, is to be a part of the puzzle in the best way he can. This means that someone who walks the path of the religious Jew must carry out the Jewish religion in the most effective way so as to make the generations that follow better than him, by influencing his descendants and his environment.

I must belong to the part that is meant to influence its environment, and you belong to the part that influenced (as in influence and in abundance [same root in Hebrew – I.J.]) its descendants. I just wanted to tell you that I am quite happy/contented with what I have accomplished in the limited time frame allotted to me, and that I feel that I was a quite good “Shofar” [traditional: a ram’s horn used in Jewish rituals; here used figuratively, meaning mouthpiece – I.J.] for the way you educated me and that I can’t think of a better way to bring up a child than the way you brought me up (well, maybe you spoiled me a bit…).

In my meager experience I have seen that the people who usually break in an irreparable way as a result of bereavement, are the people who have some feelings of guilt. Although you have no reason, I know you well enough (especially Mom), to know that you may regret some things that you did or didn’t do, that you said or didn’t say. I just wanted you to know that you really did do everything right, and besides short breaks, I have been happy/contented for over twenty years, and I just want to say thank you!


[This is my (inadequate) translation. In my attempt to keep it as close as possible to the original, I have translated the Arabic word “Mabsoot”, often used in Hebrew slang, as “happy/contented”. This is the closest equivalent I could think of. – I.J.]