While driving home from work today, as always, I passed Tsomet Shilat, the Shilat Intersection. I read somewhere that this was the intersection our boys were trying to get to when they hitched a ride with evil last Thursday night. It makes sense. It’s a centrally located intersection from which they could have been intending to catch another ride to their homes in Elad, Nof Ayalon, and Talmon.
Today as I drove past Shilat I noticed large groups of teenagers carrying signs with words of love and support for our boys. These young people, children, really, were so sincere in their chanting and their prayers. So intense. So believing in their power to move G-d Himself.
For the first time since I heard about the kidnapping on Friday, I broke down and sobbed like a baby. In the car, by myself, watching those children.
On Friday, I heard about the kidnapping after I put up a status on my Facebook Page that quoted my absolutely favorite line of the Torah: טובה הארץ מאוד מאוד, from that Shabbat’s Torah portion: The Land is Very, Very Good. Because it is.
I’m going to admit something here: when I heard about the kidnapping, I recalled another line from that portion, the line that was the essence of the sin of the spies–their report back to Moses that ארץ אוכלת יושביה–it is a land that swallows up its inhabitants.
G-d forgive me.
I’ve been thinking alot since that terrible thought popped into my head. Thinking about those boys. Thinking about their mothers with faith so strong and love of country and nation so staunch that they are able to comfort us even as their pain must be to much to bear. Thinking about my own daughters, who have acclimated enough to this culture that I know they ‘tremp’, or hitchhike when they feel they need to.
And I’ve been thinking about how it’s been nearly seven years since my family has arrived here, precisely because of those words: This Very, Very Good Land of our people, our Homeland, the Land promised to our forefathers; the Land that we had been willing to share back in ’47, the Land that we have ceded and compromised upon, the Land that we have fought for and died for, the Land that we have tended to and built and started-up and lived and loved in.
And it is this Land that we brought our children to so that they could be at the front lines of the History of their People and not on the periphery. The Land that can infuse their lives with meaning even as they tend to the most mundane of tasks.
And it is right here in this Land, on my way home from work, where I watched children pray together and cry together to Bring Back Our Boys, at an intersection that the boys thought they would safely and routinely arrive at on Thursday night. The Land where so many of my friend’s sons and daughters have heeded the call by their Commanding Officers to seek out and rescue their brothers in distress.
Because it is not the Land that swallows up its inhabitants, it is pure, unadulterated evil.
And the good people of the Land will fight that evil and Please G-d, Bring Back Our Boys.