This time a year ago, I was fighting alongside my soldiers in Operation Protective Edge.
This time a year ago, I lost my commander and my two friends Yuval and Nadav.
The first weekend after the war ended I was sent home on leave. I hadn’t been home for over two months. Anyone who knows Israeli soldiers knows that going home for Shabbat is what keeps us going.
The worst punishment that you can give a soldier is to keep them in for Shabbat but this Shabbat was the first time that I would have rather stayed on base. I wanted to be with the people who had gone through what I just experienced—people who understood.
I got home and showered. Then I ate my first home-cooked meal in a month. Afterward, while sitting in my
room, it hit me. My commander and my friends would never be eatingFriday night with their families again. They’ll never get discharged from the army, get a new job or get married.
I broke down. Out of nowhere, the walls fell and everything came pouring out. I cried for a long time.
Then came the second-guessing - the "survivor guilt". Could I have done something to help? Could I have done something to save them—something to help them be here today?
I couldn’t sleep. I played and replayed it in my head. Things like my last conversation with my commander, when he told me to get a haircut. I was incredulous. A haircut in the middle of a war? But he explained himself, (and these are the last words he would ever say to me):