Yom sheni, 17 Cheshvan 5772.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess whose people were from a far-away land. She climbed mountains and crossed seas to marry her handsome prince. At last, after scaling unbelievable heights and spanning unimaginable depths, they married and had children and were happy. They moved to a mountain in a Wondrous Kingdom, and they were happier still.
One day, the princess got very, very sick.
And now it was the prince's turn to scale unbelievable heights and span unimaginable depths in order to fight against the terrible sickness, which seemed very much like a great, coiled dragon. The prince put on his armor, and prepared to do battle with the forces of darkness.
The people of the village on the mountain gathered to see the prince off.
Weavers and dyers made beautiful garments for the occasion.
The youth of the village adorned the trees and flowers with lavender balloons to remind the prince that he was not alone. The village sage gave a speech of encouragement. And then the prince departed.
He rode his trusty steed for hours and hours and hours, over hills and up mountains, covering miles and miles and miles in an attempt to slay the dragons that terrorized the nights, and to bring hope to himself and his princess and their children.
In the process, he brought hope to his community. But not just to his community. As the prince traveled those many miles, he brought hope to his people, those who were scattered across the globe, and those who were just around the corner. There were knights with trusty steeds who joined the prince on his travels. There were builders and bakers and memory stick makers. There were minstrels and carriage drivers. There were even court jesters.
As he rode, spreading his message of hope, the prince discovered time and again that he was not riding alone. There were runners and riders. There were people walking dogs, and dogs walking people.
There were those who traveled through space and time to share in the prince's struggle, among those longing for the dawn, longing for the dawn. All along his route, the prince and the princess were reminded that many, many people had been longing to give a hand in the fight against the dragons and on behalf of goodness and kindness.
The people completed the ride together. The prince and the princess and their children shared weary but joyful smiles. The war was not over. Not yet. But they had won this battle. And they knew that they would never, ever be alone. Together, and with the help of the Mighty King, they knew that they could make it to the bright light of morning.
"Behold, how good and how pleasant is the dwelling of brothers in unity!... May there be life forever!"
Please continue to daven for Tzuriya Kochevet bat Sara, among the other precious cholim of Am Yisrael.
Additional photos borrowed (ehhhhhhhh...) from Laura Ben-David.