soldier boots

Last night I went to bed with the news that Israel had entered Gaza with ground troops. This morning I woke up to the news that during the six hours I slept, one Israeli soldier had been killed and others were injured. My heart felt it was being crushed.

The soldier’s family had already been notified and I felt guilty as I breathed a selfish sigh of relief because there had been no knock on my door overnight. I had also not received any phone calls from my sister-in-law or brother-in-law so that meant that my nephews were okay as well.

Yet a few hours later when the soldier’s name, 20 year old Eitan Barak from Herzilia, was released for publication, my heart felt like it was being torn into a million pieces even though I do not know him or his family. I felt the same devastation I had felt when the news had broken that Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were found murdered. The unfairness, the unbearable pain, the inability to be able to grasp how their families can continue on and find the strength to even breathe. And it hurts me even more to know that sadly, his death probably won’t be the last one.

The unique thing about the Jewish people living in the Land of Israel is the fact that we do feel for each other. Your problem is my problem. Your triumph is my triumph and your pain is my pain.

I wonder if some of our problems as a people and a nation are because we don’t have the same unity and love for each other when times are good. For good and for bad, bad news seems to bring out our best qualities. We show our care for each other and we extend a helping hand in ways that we wouldn’t necessarily do when we are not in crisis mode. We are more tolerant and less suspicious.

To us living here in Israel, it doesn’t matter that the fallen soldier is not our biological son. He is our son and our reminder that we need to be kind to each other. We need to show concern for others around us. There is always someone who needs our kindness and support.

Life changes in an instant, so please hug your children today and then embrace the rest of the Jewish People as if they were your children too.