Just as we break a glass at the end of a Jewish wedding to commemorate the destruction of the Temple, last night the glass laying near our collective foot was crushed. Last night we found that, despite our prayers and our military’s best efforts, the three boys, Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, were murdered in cold blood and buried in shallow graves just outside the city where our forefathers are buried, Hebron. The news is a stark reminder that although daily life in Israel is usually incredible and beautiful, we are still a long way away from our eternal struggle for peace in the land and State of Israel.
Life is at a standstill here in Jerusalem. After taking my daughter to camp, I am sitting at a coffee shop working on Emek Refaim. This place is usually packed. Today, there are maybe 4 tables occupied. The feeling last night was not all that different than what we all experienced in the States on 9-11. People glued to their TVs. Others gathering in the streets with candles and flags. Collective shock and sadness.
This morning I told my 7 year old daughter what happened. She said “I know. I heard you and Mami talking.” I explained to her that there are good people and bad people in this world. We have to focus on being good people, being good to other people, and doing what we can to be sure that there are always more good people than bad people. I explained to her that we had to be positive. That things get better. Truth is, I didn’t know what to say. All I really did was hold her hand really tightly as we traversed the morning Jerusalem traffic.
I really am not at a place to write a lengthy blog, but outside of politics and military strategy, I can only think of three things:
1 – We are commanded to be a “light onto other nations.” The darker the world gets, the brighter we need to make the light. We, as a Jewish people, need to keep being a light of truth, love, strength, and enlightenment to the rest of the world.
2- Thank G-d for the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces. Those who believe that the only reason these boys were killed was because of some territorial dispute are blind to the history of the Jewish people and to the palestinian arabs who perpetrated the attack. These boys were killed because they are Jewish. Plain and simple. Today, however, we have a country, and therefore an army, to protect, defend and act offensively – when necessary – on our behalf.
Before the State of Israel, all we could do is RUN. We ran from Spain in 1492. We ran from Russia in the late 1800s. We ran from Eastern Europe in the 1930s and 40s. We ran from the arab countries in 1948. We ran, we ran, we ran. Today we can stand tall and stand our ground. We stand behind the Blue and White flag, the star of David, and behind thousands of our own soldiers in olive green. We are not going anywhere. We no longer have to run.
3 – The parents of these poor boys.
Just as we all endeavor to have positive, fruitful, loving and successful marriages after crushing the glass at our wedding, we must continue as a Jewish people to endeavor to have a positive, fruitful, loving and successful nation in our historic homeland.
May the families of Gilad, Eyal and Naftali be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Am Israel Chai