Dear Gilad, Eyal & Naftali, z”l

It’s been a month. 30 days. And I have the same lump in my throat, tears on my cheek and sadness in my heart since you’ve been gone.

As a mother to 3 young children, this past month has had an indelible effect on me and on each of them. None of us knew you, but you became a part of us. And this past month since we said goodbye to you, has left them and me with so many questions and so many unfamiliar and complex emotions.Before I share with you what has changed in 30 days, I want you to know something.

I want you to know that we all prayed so desperately hard with every single fiber of our beings for you to be OK, for you to come home safe. We thought about you and your families every single minute of every single day. My kids cared more about your well-being than about anything else. We still talk about you and we call you “our boys”. We learned Torah and said Tehillim and cried and wished for more than anything and participated in so much Chessed in the fervent hope that in some tiny way, our goodness would help to bring you home.

However, that was not to be.And as we are about to mark your Shloshim, we understand just a little bit more how truly heroic you each were and how your precious, young and holy lives and your ultimate deaths have, as many people now say “saved” Am Yisrael. Yes, because, we didn’t know it then, but we do know it now, that you helped create a miracle. What has happened in 30 days is now about the miracle of saving Israel. In fact, when our children ask where did all our Tefillot go, we have seen over this past month countless miracles like never before.We have been attacked by thousands of rockets and missiles like never before. We have thwarted terror like never before, we have bravely responded to evil like never before and we have stood up to a very harsh and often prejudice world like never before. All of this, with a deep rooted sense of principle, love and absolute faith in who we are, what we stand for and what is ours. And all because life means the world to us. And we have united through millions upon millions of Mitzvot and Chesed opportunities like never before.

This all began when you were taken.

And yes, sadly too in our little world since you have gone, here is what you wouldn’t recognize:

The sirens on the police cars and ambulances don’t sound the same – they have been changed so as not to confuse us between their emergencies and the code red alert to run for protective shelter. The greetings we wish our loved ones and friends on the street is no longer “have a good day”, but rather “have a quiet and peaceful day”. The apps on our phone are all about safety, news, siren signals and protective measures in case of need. Our news-feeds are about showing the world the truth in an ugly and vast sea of lies, falsifications and bias anti-Israel abuse. This is a big job for a tiny nation. But it always has been. And you knew that.And so I want to reassure you all that here is what hasn’t changed:

Am Yisrael remains awesome and strong, in faith and unity. Our cherished IDF is doing whatever they can to look after us, our people and our home and we are eternally grateful for each and every one of our soldiers. Our eternal values and integrity remains intact, despite horrendous efforts from around the world to slam us and knock us down. Our deepest desire for true peace and the ability to live in harmony is more real and unrequited than ever before. Our prayers are strong and heartfelt and we have not lost faith or hope. Our spirits are up, even during this most awful and heart wrenching month.

And I know that you know.We look at your unbelievably courageous families who continue to inspire us as they did throughout this month. How blessed you are to have such families. We hear your parents speak with softness, we see them giving Israeli flags out on the street, and we look to them with love and light and we try to soak up their optimism, unprecedented strength and gratitude. Your families have given each and every one of us so much to aspire towards and emulate.I keep telling my children, we will continue to try our hardest to put aside our differences and be together as you brought us together. We will continue to fulfill our promise to you to learn, grow, be kind to one another and to more than ever before fill our time with goodness.

As you all did.With Hashem, please watch over us, shine down on us and let your light put an end to this terribly dark time. Please look after our 53 heroes who now join you. We are all heartbroken that you are all no longer with us.May your memories be for a much-needed blessing of peace and the coming of Mashiach very soon.

We will live your legacy and always remember you and the miracles you bestowed upon us, even if we cant understand it all right now.

I miss you. I mourn you. I celebrate you. And I thank you.

Am Yisrael Chai.