Study and Theory/
Chanukah

Heroism of Women

Chanukah 5768 (2008)

At Chanukah - it is customary to recall the heroism of women mainly due to two stories:
Judith and Holofernes and Hannah and her seven sons.
Both of them sacrificed themselves on the altar of their faith.
However we know about other female characters in Jewish history haunted by tribulations and tragic events, starting from the Bible: Deborah and Yael, the wife of Heber the Kenite and as far as Sarah the heroine of Nili and Hannah Szenes and Haviva Reik the parachutists in World War II.


All these figures sacrificed themselves on the altar of the concept or the idea, whether they took the initiative or were victims of the place and circumstance.
And since then we do not hear of heroines.


Is this due to forgetfulness, or perhaps we are lacking historical perspective in order to turn their acts into an heroic story?


Are the stories of women since them not sufficient in order to educate in the light of them or to create a myth? Stories of heroism were created in order to educate and therefore in many cases we receive  an archetypal story that represents the act and not the heroism.
Who are those same anonymous heroines who have disappeared from the pages of history? 


I went to search in the depths of the Internet.
I entered in Google: “What is heroism” and I received mainly lesson formats by the Ministry of Education.
However in one of them several “heroines” appeared around whom the site recommends creating a dialog.
One of these women is called: Bella Bellisima


As I had not heard this name I searched again on Google and received a wonderful poem about one Jerusalem lady who carried out an act and heroically faced a ranging crowd who wanted to lynch a terrorist who knifed two students in a Jerusalem shopping mall and she protected him with her body.


The members of the group Dag Nahash who were excited by the story, took the press chronicles and added their own words:

 

Bella Bellisima / Dag Nahash

 

This is a story with which it is fitting children should be educated
This is a story with which it is fitting children should be educated
This is a story with which it is fitting children should be educated
This is a fitting story 

Tuesday May 12, 1992
A woman leaves her home in Jerusalem
A regular standard day nothing special like all the days
The street was full of children there was a teachers strike
At exactly the same time a despicable terrorist
Thrust a kitchen knife with which he knifed two innocent boys
Another cruel crazy attack
Another national attack
He starts running because the crowd is running after him
They catch him after several seconds in the parking lot
Tens of people kick him they want to take revenge
I am not judging them, it is an illogical event
It is a situation that is defective, forlorn, damned, unclear
However then a woman arrives and changes the end of the story
Because she immediately lays down on the terrorist and protects him with her body
A terrorist but also a man who without her body would have been a dead body
“I don’t understand, weren’t you afraid with a crazy person underneath you and the crowd so close to you?
Wouldn’t it have been easier to get up and leave?”
She answered the reporter that she didn’t have time to think
She answered the reporter that she didn’t have time to think

The incident with this woman was etched in my head
Where did she have the strength to lay on him without moving, without being afraid
I ask myself what would I have done in her place
If exactly at that same time I would have pitched up in that place
It is clear to me that I wouldn’t have started kicking
But to be fair and to tell you the truth
I don’t think that I would have been able to act as she did
It’s much more suitable for me to get up and flee
Or at the most to try to find a policeman or something
But she lay there until her strength gave out
Twenty minutes she was kicked there
Her children saw it and couldn’t stop crying

 

The woman did not become an icon
And her name has been deleted from the consciousness
There is no postal stamp of her
Perhaps because Israel is still staying as they were and is not ready
to take a hero into its heart
whose heroism is not to do with combat, a hero
whose heroism is not military, a hero
whose heroism is only moral
A woman hero, and also ultra-orthodox

 

Please know dear woman who I have not forgotten
The story of your heroism I have promised myself
That this is a story with which it is fitting children should be educated
This is a story with which it is fitting children should be educated
This is a story with which it is fitting children should be educated
This is a fitting story

 


This is a real story about heroism for which they haven’t made wreaths and did not create a myth around it, as at the end of the day she remained faithful to the education that she received which helped her stay “a human being” specifically in a situation that was so extreme.
And therefore I am lighting a Chanukah candle in her honour
 

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