She was a gift to her parents, a G‑dly gift. She was an only child after years of barrenness. She was their prize, their jewel, their preciousness. She was everything. That lovely girl, so small and delicate, was also so perfect.

They watched in joy as she intertwined their large hands in her small ones. All of her fingers wrapped around a single one of theirs. They thanked G‑d. They thanked Him for bringing that angelic being to them.

They protected her. They never let anything happen to her. They never knew how the illness slipped in.

They had never let her out of their sight, out of their arms. How had it happened? Why them? They had waited all those years. Why their dear angel?

They beseeched G‑d, told Him things they would do in exchange for her strength, her health. They pleaded for her life. If only G‑d would grant their desire.

He did not. She was not even a half a week old when the tests began. Their darling became a pincushion. She cried at first, but with each needle became more and more quiet, more sedate, until at last she just stared at them.

They had no answers for her. They had no answers for themselves.

The intensity of the testing increased. The pain increased. They cried more than she did, than their treasured one, than their dear one.

Yet, unnamed, she was transformed. They shared her with the machines. One breathed for her. One fed her. Many watched and supervised her every struggle.

Why such a test? They cried to Him, telling Him they were suffering. The doctors cried. The nurses cried. How could The Gates of Mercy remain closed so tight? Not to be opened by the pain-filled tears of parents?

Then it all stopped. The tests stopped. The machines stopped. The prayers stopped. The tears stopped. The doctors sent them home. G‑d had taken back what He had given only for a few weeks.

They cried. They prayed. They howled. They implored. They accepted.

Her grave held but one word, her name, Bat-el.

…the L-rd gave, and the L-rd hath taken away; blessed be the name of the L-rd. (Job 1:21)