The Devil's Arithmetic

What was the true meaning behind the two slaps Gitl had given Chaya? Were they really Chaya's doing?

chapter 13

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There lay little Tzipporah curled into a ball, her finger in her mouth like a stopper in a bottle. There is a fly on her cheek which Hannah reaches out to brush off until Gitl hoarsely demands, “Do not touch her!” When Hannah moves her hand forward again anyway, Gitl grabs her and slaps her twice. Then, she collapses and buries her face against Hannah’s shoulder, wondering aloud what she will tell Yitzchak. The little girl is dead.

I think another meaning might have been not catching something from the dead.

No, neither were her doing. First, Hannah did not know that Tzipporah was dead, but she didn't lesten to Gitl when she told her not to touch her...... the second time was simply pure reaction, I think the slap came more from Gitl's anger at the child's death than Hannah's refusal to obey.