Tomorrow is meant to be Jewish Unity Day. It is in memory of three Jewish boys, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha’er, and Naftali Frenkel, who were kidnapped, killed, and left in a field, leaving their families and their nation to worry, wonder, hope and pray for their safe return for two and a half weeks of an agony of hope and horrible thoughts; ultimately, a fruitless effort.
I am missing something here, because I cannot figure out why this is taking place tomorrow. If you know, please tell me. First, if we went by the Western calendar, the boys were taken on June 12, 2014, found by us on June 30th, and their earthly souls were placed in the ground on July 1, 2014. According to the Hebrew calendar, the dates we should mark would be yud daled Sivan (the 14th), or bet/gimmel of Tammuz, the ending of our time of hope and nationwide unification. I do not say this as a smear on the boys, because their holy souls are certainly with God if only for all the prayers they inspired, not to mention that all of them died Al Kiddush Hashem. I point out that, although we remained united during the summer’s war that followed, our unity, as anyone can sadly see, has certainly degraded.
The attempt to continue that feeling we were all caught up in then is admirable, and I applaud the families and the government for their efforts, as well as all who are taking part. Sadly, I have seen so much in the news recently that makes me wonder what horrible event it will take to truly unite us as a nation again, to stop handing weapons to our enemies in the form of some downright disgusting articles by Jews against Jews. We are back to political infighting, to (partially) accepting blame heaped on us by the world, to capitulating to the world’s picture of us as the evil in this area.
Wake up!! We are the only democracy for miles! We take in the wounded from other countries, we go above and beyond in trying to show what we are, underneath anything—we are a people who values life. We hold freedom and the right to live as you want to in high esteem. And for that, my friends, my family, my nation, we are told we are not doing enough. There comes a time when you need to tell yourself it is not enough, it is never going to be enough. Those who want to will see us for who we are, or they won’t. We need to stop giving in to their idea of us, because THEY ARE WRONG. They don’t know us. A wise person recently told me: “Those who know, know, and those who don’t know, don’t know.” That is, the ones who count, who matter to us, understand the situation and see the truth behind the lies, and those who believe the lies, well, they aren’t important enough to waste our time convincing.
A few weeks ago a local boy went missing. We were not given details, just his picture and “last seen the night before.” Without other options, I went about my day. But—my heart was in my throat, all day, until I heard that he was located. Because we know what can happen to our boys who go out to innocently hitch a ride home. We know that, try as we may, and as much as I know in all my heart that this country is the safest place for the Jews, we are always and constantly fighting a war. We have soldiers in uniform posted all over, and thank G-d for them, but we are all in this war, and the other side will use many weapons to try to win, including accusing us of the vile things they do. When I heard about this boy, it was like being thrown back in time to two years ago, when our slogan was #BringBackOurBoys. Then, I also did not hear the news the first night, but the next day. Also, the boys were gone. Also, we prayed. Thank G-d this time it turned out all right. Because thinking about our three boys who were taken and murdered together, not to mention now so many many others, I think of the Tehillim (psalms) 133, “How good and how pleasant is the dwelling of brothers in unity…” They were together in their last moments, and they will always be together in our hearts. They brought our nation together for too brief a time. Don’t let their passing be in vain, remember them and stop listening to the lies about us.
Let us all be brothers and sisters together tomorrow and for far longer, and not let that feeling pass like the brief flame that was the lives of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. I will remember you, and bake cookies in your honor and kavod for our soldiers at their posts. I know what I am missing; I am missing you and all our fallen family. Yehi am yisrael mivorach be’zchutchem. May our nation be blessed in your merit, Amen.
Make our unity last more than one day.