Not only are we waking up to the void left by the funerals of our three beautiful boys, but we are missing the media presence of our three mothers- Rachel Frenkel ,Bat-Galim Shaer and Iris Yifrah,
We miss their pure yearning; their complete trust and faith in our people, in our leaders and in humanity;
their humility and their raw gratitude for everything and anything that had been done for and on behalf of their precious, missing boys.
And most of all, we miss their beautiful words.
The words that they spoke over their 18 days of anguish and despair reconnected us with a vocabulary of softness, clarity and love that is sorely missing from the narrative of the day-to-day life in Israel. For 18 days the mothers reintroduced words that our media and our “leadership” seem to have abandoned.
These are not the words that should be permeating our airwaves, our coffee shops, our print media, our emails, our homes and the minds of our children.
Shakespeare’s Gertrude said to Hamlet:
“O, speak to me no more! These words like daggers enter in my ears.”
We, the “People of the Book” had always prided ourselves on our language of wisdom and consideration. So discreet and moderate was our character within the public arena that we had historically personified victimhood and acceptance, almost to a fault.
And when we roared, it was as a lion; temporarily justified, dignified, cautious yet deliberate, until the time came to retreat to our den. Our few miracles and victories were momentarily trumpeted amongst ourselves. And when we were hurt we disappeared from view to lick our wounds, en famille.
But today’s electronic world of spontaneous and immediate tweeting, squeaking and racing to loudly trump each public voice with the other is poisoning our essence and shooting our society in its foot. The more that we read and hear, the more that we digest and repeat amongst ourselves, and the more that those words of conflict, threat, blame and aggression permeate. The more that every headline, that every interview, blog and official announcement accuses, the more we need to be immersed in the sweet and pure narrative of our three mothers, who opened their hearts and their words to us.
“Love… kindness….faith… hope…heart…good…embrace…care…yearn…thank-you”
The Talmud tells us;
“Words which emanate from the heart, enter the heart.”
If there is one singular lesson that we as a society and as individuals can take from our three mothers, it is to take time to consider the words that we are about to use, and with which we arm ourselves to face each day.
Every day that passes in our latest crisis, our politicians, opinion-makers and communal leaders are racing each other to step up to the plate at the bubbling cauldron of conflict and murderous mud-slinging . In turn, we absorb and regurgitate this hateful narrative . But once you speak or hear the words, you cannot take them back or delete them.
If we and our children hear and speak them enough, they will begin to redefine us. Today, we are a people at risk of irreversible decline into a swamp of aggressive, angry and bitter words.
Our Jewish leaders have always come from unexpected places. Places such as a shepherd guarding his flock or a young girl protectively watching her brother float across the river in a basket.
And now the three mothers have appeared and touched each of us with their innocent messages of hope.
As we assumed the role of comforters of the three mothers, so they in return have comforted us.
Let’s all make a concerted effort to bring back an elegant, touching language to our multi-media lives and to the mouths, pens and keyboards of our leaders, spokesmen, public figures and youth. And in turn invest in growing the next generation of Naftalis, Eyals and Gilads. Wholesome, good and innocent boys whose world view and street talk is a light unto ourselves and unto the nations. And let’s honour the unexpected gifts that their dear mothers have given our nation; the words with which to continue building our magnificent and miraculous medina; homeland of the Jewish people.
(Written with Eva Rosenstein, President of the Lilyan Wilder Center for Communication Excellence.)