Tonight marks the Hebrew two year anniversary of a fateful June evening.
It was the evening when “our” sons disappeared.
For days we were in limbo. Steeped in prayer and deed we held our breath. Despite our hopes and innermost desires, Naphatali, Gilad and Eyal’s bodies were found 18 days after they went missing.
Throughout those 18 days, Naftali’s mother, Rachel, became a spokewoman for the entire population. Rachel updated us on events surrounding her personal, unfolding narrative. While not giving up any hope on finding our boys, Rachel declared that G-d doesn’t always necessarily have to listen to our demands. “It doesn’t work that way” ……G-d is doing what He sees fit in His way, not ours”.
Later, Rachel continued; ” …it doesn’t have to do with the consequences…it doesn’t have to do with the results…ahavat hinam (unconditional love), chesed (kindness), achdut (togetherness), these are the results…”
Only one of great strength and fortitude could have been capable of such a declaration during a personally uncertain and profound time.
And in the end, Rachel Frenkel was prophetic.
G-d, despite the impassioned service and beseeching, did not answer to our demands and will. G-d said no.
Hearing no can be quite painful. Sometimes we don’t recieve the answers we want, need, and wish for. This all depends on G-d’s ways and will, which we, as mere mortals, cannot fully digest nor discern.
Rachel understood this.
Astoundingly, Rachel, in her moment of need, had recognized that we had already secured some answers, some “yes’s”. Clearly not the one’s we were looking for, but vital ones just the same.
In honor of the boys, let us take a closer look at what we gained, according to Rachel, as both individuals and a people, during this most sensitive and searing time.
At the Kotel/Western Wall, government offices, and private abodes, we gathered as one. There was no time, place, or space to point fingers or judge. We saw the beauty and compassion in each other. The divisions between orthodox and reformed, conservative and secular, men and women, old and young, poor and rich, were earmarked for a later date. We transcended all that divides us with a tour de force of unconditional love for our fellow human beings.
This was a time for a unified cry of mercy, compassion, and action from both above and below. This manifested itself in the togetherness we felt both at a visceral level and on the physical plane. We were one people, one collective body, one heart, one soul. They were our boys.
Loving kindness permeated our pores. There was the need to support the families of the kidnapped in anyway possible. People were motivated to be of service; sending gift packs for our soliders, organizing Tehilim/Psalm readings at our neighbor’s homes.
But it was more then that.
It was a systemic moratorium on an outdated modus operandi. We were conscious of our behavior and elevating ourselves for the sake of our boys. We spoke with measured words. We resented less, we loved more. We did not take for granted our friends, spouses, and especially are children. We perceived the fleeting, the fragile, the transient nature of this world. We recognized the kindnesses around us.
At the time, Naphtali, Gilad, and Eyal, were our guiding lights. Their message heaven sent at a critical time on earth. They gave us a glimpse of what means to be part of an all-inclusive family. We felt so connected. We were humbled. Our hearts were open.
As Rachel said, these were our results.
Reminding ourselves of that time can help us endure in positive, proactive, and enlightened ways. If Rachel Frenkel could recognize the Yes’s then, surely, we can recognize the Yes’s now.
Two years down the line, what is the state of our kindness, unconditional love, and togetherness? Have the momentum and power that flooded those long days been capitalized upon?
How did our boys change us for the better?