Baruch Borowski took a seat in the restaurant, but his wife preferred to sit elsewhere. Then his granddaughter chimed in saying “I will decide where to sit” and chose a different place. The couple resignedly followed her to the new seat. A little later two women came with child strollers. One had a double stroller carrying twins aged about six months.
Baruch, who is normally very reserved, suddenly had a strong urge to find out about the twins. He inquired how old they were and then asked what their names were.
“This one is Eviatar” she said, pointing at the one she was holding. “And the other one is Avihu”.
When Baruch heard the names he flinched as he remembered his son Eviatar, may G-d avenge his blood, who was murdered in 2013 while standing at the Tapuach junction. An Arab terrorist stabbed him and then stole his weapon and shot him with it. Eviatar, a highly talented actor and comedian who starred in plays about Torah and Chasidut, was only 31 years old and left five young children at his death.
The other name reminded him of his good friend and neighbor Gadi Yaakov, whose son, Captain Avihu, had fallen in battle in Shechem in 2002.
His wife, Chaya, joined the conversation and asked where the twins had been born.
“Rambam hospital” said the woman, whose name was Liat.
That's amazing because I have volunteered for years in the maternity department there” said Chaya.
While they were ruminating on this coincidence, Chaya asked when the babies had been born.
“On the 20th of Iyar” said Liat.
Baruch and Chaya were dumbfounded. The 20th of Iyar was the exact date that their Eviatar had been murdered….
But then Liat corrected herself: “Actually I gave birth to Eviatar on the 20th of Iyar, but Avihu was born after sunset, so technically his birthday is the 21st of Iyar.
Baruch and Chaya were even more flabbergasted than before. This was already too much of a coincidence, since Avihu, the son of their friends, had been killed on the 21st of Iyar.
After they calmed down they asked Liat why she had given these names to her children.
Liat answered simply. “We were becoming more religious and decided to give them names of Tzadikim.
“We had a son called Eviatar” said Baruch.
“Where is he now?” asked Liat.
“He is with G-d now” said the bereaved father. Baruch and Chaya then told Liat about Eviatar and how he was such a talented actor in a theater which promoted Jewish culture, as well as serving as a hospital clown and performing in various street shows. They then told her about Avihu, who had led his Golani brigade soldiers into the streets of Shechem in order to prevent a suicide bomber from blowing himself up. When his soldiers blasted open one door a hail of bullets issued and killed Avihu.
When Liat heard that the dates of birth of her children corresponded precisely to the dates when the two older men had died sanctifying G-d's name, it was her turn to be amazed.
When they continued the conversation it transpired that her husband was called Oshri. Baruch and Chaya remembered that when their son had been murdered he was waiting for a friend called Oshri, who arrived at the spot too late to save his friend.
Everyone agreed that despite the pain and anguish of losing a child, there was some comfort and solace in the fact that a child had been given his name, a child born on the same date that he had died…Life in place of death. It seemed that Hashem himself was adding light to banish the darkness which the bereaved family had suffered.
The Divine Providence which everyone felt after hearing this story led to a strong friendship between Baruch and Chaya Borowski and Oshri and Liat Pinto. Baruch and Chaya became like surrogate grandparents to the twins and each family invites the other to festive occasions, as if they were relatives.
The story reminds us of the Talmudic statement that 'Hashem fills the days of the righteous' and the day that certain Rabbis died, other great Rabbi's were born. Let us hope that the twins will merit to live and sanctify G-d in their lives and follow in the footsteps of their illustrious namesakes for a 120 years and more…