Sharona Margolin Halickman

Listen to the female hostages!

Photo Courtesy Sharona Halickman

The concept of women being taken hostage is sadly not new and goes back to the days of the Tanach. In fact, we encounter such a case in the Haftara for Parshat Tazria, Melachim II 4:42-5:19.

In Melachim II 5:2 we read:

Aram had gone out in “gdudim,” raiding parties and had captured a young girl from Eretz Yisrael, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “My master’s prayers should be directed to the prophet who is in the Shomron; then he will heal him from his tzaraat.” So Naaman went and told his master, saying, “Such and such spoke the girl from Eretz Yisrael.”

What is the meaning of the word “gdudim”?

According to Rashi, gdudim were raiding parties where groups of 100 or 200 people from Aram went roving on their own initiative to rob and loot in the Land of Israel.

Israel and Aram were in a state of peace, there was no organized war between Israel and Aram yet wars of attrition still took place.

Radak explains that the girl was one of the hostages that were taken from Israel and brought back to Aram.

Daat Mikra adds that she was originally taken captive as a young girl and now she is a young woman.

When Naaman spoke to the king of Aram, he made it very clear that this girl was taken captive from Eretz Yisrael.

Daat Mikra points out that there may have been hostages from a lot of different lands so Naaman wanted to emphasize that she was from Eretz Yisrael and therefore she knew firsthand what is needed in order for him to be healed.

Naaman as well as his wife and the king of Aram all thought that it was a good idea to listen to this captured girl who was now working as a servant since she had insider information. Naaman went to the prophet Elisha who ended up helping intervene on his behalf to heal him.

Unfortunately, we are living the nightmare of war and captivity again today. Before October 7, we were not at war. Suddenly thousands of terrorists broke into Israel. Some were part of Hamas’ plan but many others just joined in. Men and women, boys and girls of all ages were murdered, raped, mutilated, burned and taken hostage.

It is unthinkable that something like this can happen in our day and age and that the world thinks that this is normal behaviour.

Even as the freed hostages go out to speak to groups all over the world and the media, most people are unfazed.

How can this be?

Even in Biblical days it was understood that a simple young female captive has important information to contribute which will benefit society as a whole.

This is the perfect week to take a good look at the Haftara and get the word out to the world that we must listen to the released female hostages and work on bringing back everyone else as well as make sure that something like October 7 never happens again.

A few months ago when I visited Tel HaShomer hospital, I met many soldiers who are going through the process of rehabilitation. Right before I left, I met a young woman in a wheelchair with a clear cast on her leg. When I asked if I can pray for her recovery, she gave me her name, Maya, and then she asked me to pray for her friend Omer who is a captive. This young woman was a released hostage herself, Maya Regev.

Soon after I met her, Maya began to walk again. She recently told the Knesset that every woman in captivity is experiencing sexual harassment and if she could, she would release the hostages herself.

Maya as well as the other female released hostages were there. They know what is happening in captivity in Gaza. We have to listen to them.

May all of the hostages return home.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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