Numb. There isn’t a part of me that isn’t numb. My Facebook page has erupted with news and reactions to the murders of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Saar, and Naftali Frenkel. Social media has allowed us to mourn together despite the oceans and lands that separate so many of us. If you listen closely you can hear the crying, the fury, the disgust, the incredulity in typed words. You can feel the endless emotions pouring from keyboards, cell phones, and iPad’s everywhere. It feels like the earth has sped up and stopped at the same time. So many have said “there are no words,” and there aren’t. Not a single word will make it any easier to deal with the fact that three innocent children had their lives stolen from them. Three lives cut short, ended, because of the souls they embodied. No words will make the anger dissipate. No words at all.
And yet. Computers are abuzz with lots of words. ‘Flatten Gaza. Kill ‘em all! Let’s get those bastards! No more killing! When will both sides just stop?’ Lots of words, lots of sides, many sentiments. I find myself struggling with not letting loose with some rather colorful words because man, I am ANGRY. I am ferociously, no holds barred, who- the- hell- do- you- think- you- are- stealing- into- my- nation- and- killing- three- innocent- kids FURIOUS! I can’t even fathom the words one uses to console the parents, the siblings, and the grandparents who are preparing for their funerals. So many words swirling and none of them will undo the horror that’s been done.
But there a few words, socially appropriate ones in fact, left to say. I do not know what these three beautiful boys had in them, but what they gave us, the folks who knew them and not, is a unity we hadn’t had just minutes before news of their kidnapping broke. Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali unified Jews of every stripe to pray for their safe return. Impromptu prayer sessions in bus terminals and shopping malls sprouted up everywhere. Everyone who prayed for these boys wanted one thing and one thing only- for them to be returned alive and safe. And even in death, as the tweets and posts and status updates flew through cyberspace, the boys got us to collaborate with an intense desire to believe that news of their deaths was a nasty rumor. These boys brought us together, got us to pray, and got us to talk. The lives they lived are forever punctuated by the greatness they leave behind.
So what’s left to say? As tragic as the news is, I am grateful that we know where they are. Like everyone else, I wanted them to come home alive. And while that is not how things happened, I am grateful that their families, despite the agony, know where their boys are; there is no more ‘not knowing’ for them. I am also grateful that the boys were found together. There’s something oddly comforting in knowing that they were united at the very end. I’m grateful too that they were found at the same time. The Frenkel’s, Yifrach’s, and Saar’s all got their answers tonight.
Now is a time to grieve, to cry, to look for reasons that may be beyond our reach. But there is also a time for action, for demonstrating that we will not stand for this anymore, ever, at all. And when that time comes, words will not be necessary, for our actions will say everything that’s left to say.