It is hard to believe that a mere 24 hours ago I returned home from a rally to support our boys and  their families.  The mass of humanity that showed up at Rabin Square in Central Tel Aviv gave those families one huge collective hug.  I felt that collective hug embrace me, even though I knew it wasn’t mine.  I felt the love of a nation envelop me as I joined in  song, in prayer and yes, in joy.

And tonight I am crushed.

But of course it’s not about me.

We call them “ours”.  Our brothers, our sons, our boys.  But we cannot possibly be feeling the agony the way their mothers and fathers, their sisters and brothers, their grandparents and aunts and uncles, and girlfriends, their madrichim and their chanichim must be.  All the hope of last night, burst into a bubble on a hill outside of Hebron.

What do we say to the families, so strong for 18 days?  How can we comfort them?  How can we comfort ourselves?

Only this:  I feel privileged to be part of this great nation, the same nation as the Frankel, Shaar and Yifrach families.  The nation that is a Light onto other nations and the only nation in this teeming Middle East neighborhood of ours that believes in democracy and freedom.  The nation that has survived a long history of persecution and oppression, and the worst atrocities known to man.

We will survive this, too.

And so dear families, as you live through these most difficult of days, know that your nation, the great and noble Nation of Israel continues to envelop you in our love, that we feel your pain with you and for you, that we continue to pray for you and to hold you close.  We will not forget how you propped us up, gave us strength and brought us together even as inside, you must have been falling apart.  The Nation of Israel Lives.

Am Yisrael Chai.