The kidnapping of our students is a shocking, painful and frightening event. In a time and place that had seemed to us quiet and serene, we have been thrown into an event that we can do nothing to resolve.

Perhaps we are better off than in past times, when we were totally unable even to attempt rescue and deliverance. We are grateful to the Israel Defense Forces for all their efforts.

Still we, the families, the friends and the teachers of the kidnapped boys are standing with “idle hands” (Ecclesiastes 10:18.) All we have left now is to turn to our Father in Heaven and plead. We do not despair because we doubt our Heavenly Father. Rather we feel helpless because, “God is in Heaven and you are upon earth” (Ecclesiastes 5:1).

Thus, we can never know the extent our pleas and cries reach Heaven — and also have some effect here, on earth. What we can do – and this has been the Jewish way from time immemorial – is to add more holiness and learn more Torah. If we can, each of us should take upon ourselves something additional, no matter how small, especially and explicitly devoted for the sake and well-being of the missing boys.

Furthermore, we Jews have always been accustomed to reciting the Psalms, and we certainly ought to do more of this, especially two psalms that seem to me most relevant: Psalms 142 and 143, chapters that literally deal with our plight. We pray also for the safety of those who are working toward their rescue.

May it be God’s will that in their merit, and for the merit of their suffering, together with our prayers and good deeds, we shall soon see our boys returned to us, God willing, safe and sound.

Psalm 142

1 Maschil of David, when he was in the cave; a Prayer.
2 With my voice I cry unto the LORD; with my voice I make supplication unto the LORD.
3 I pour out my complaint before Him, I declare before Him my trouble;
4 When my spirit fainteth within me — Thou knowest my path – in the way wherein I walk have they hidden a snare for me.
5 Look on my right hand, and see, for there is no man that knoweth me;
I have no way to flee; no man careth for my soul.
6 I have cried unto Thee, O LORD; I have said: ‘Thou art my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.
7 Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors; for they are too strong for me.
8 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks unto Thy name;
the righteous shall crown themselves because of me; for Thou wilt deal bountifully with me.

Psalm 143

1 A Psalm of David. O LORD, hear my prayer, give ear to my supplications; in Thy faithfulness answer me, and in Thy righteousness.
2 And enter not into judgment with Thy servant; for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified.
3 For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath crushed my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.
4 And my spirit fainteth within me; my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy doing; I muse on the work of Thy hands.
6 I spread forth my hands unto Thee; my soul [thirsteth] after Thee, as a weary land. Selah
7 Answer me speedily, O LORD, my spirit faileth; hide not Thy face from me; lest I become like them that go down into the pit.
8 Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning, for in Thee do I trust; cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for unto Thee have I lifted up my soul.
9 Deliver me from mine enemies, O LORD; with Thee have I hidden myself.
10 Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God; let Thy good spirit lead me in an even land.
11 For Thy name’s sake, O LORD, quicken me; in Thy righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.
12 And in Thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that harass my soul; for I am Thy servant.

Psalms translations from Mechon Mamre.

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