I Should Have Been a Shepherd
I don’t have many regrets in life, but here’s one.
By an exceedingly strange set of circumstances (you’ll have to trust me on this one–or take me out to dinner and get me to divulge the full story), I met a woman one night in Israel that made my heart skip many a beat.
Her name was Atara, and she was one of the most beautiful women that I had ever set soul upon. I was 26. She was 19. A college student from Yeshiva University in New York, who was studying abroad.
We were meeting for our second occasion in Bat Ayin (Daughter of the Spring), a village about 20 clicks southeast of Jerusalem by armored bus. Located in the Judean Hills, it’s a place so ancient that even Roman artifacts get no love.
We had taken the bus together from Jerusalem earlier that afternoon. I walked to the home where she was staying after my Shabbat dinner and knocked on the door.
She came out with a blanket from the house. We found a nice spot and laid down next to each other, under the stars, where we talked for hours. At the time, I was (and I believe she was, as well) shomer nogea, a veritable holding place in which you don’t touch anyone of the opposite sex while you’re not married.
Yeah, I know.
Believe you me, I was tempted many times that night.
We talked about our lives, our time in Israel, the night we met… and then we talked about our futures.
I want to marry a shepherd, she said to me under those stars.
I started to wonder, could I be a shepherd?
Could I be her shepherd?
That was the last time we ever met. She probably ended up going back to New York, and I lost the piece of paper with her address.
Or maybe she stayed and found her shepherd.