As we enter into this Shabbat, we are (currently) hearing of two hostage situations in France. North of Paris, the two gunmen from the Charlie Hebdo massacre are holding a man hostage in a factory. And in Paris, in a Kosher store, five people are currently being held hostage. (This situation obviously may change, but this is the story at the time of writing)
It is a bizarre feeling to head into a Shabbat in a situation like this. The mixture of empathy and concern with no access to phones (the Shul caretaker, speaking his broken english, becomes our prime news source) leaves us feeling worried and helpless.
I think there is little we can do, except turn to the Shabbat song of Dror Yikra, and say the words written about one thousand years ago –
“Dror Yikra, leBen Im Bat, VeYinztarchem K`Mo VaVat.”
“Freedom call, for son and daughter, and guard them like the apple of Your eye.”