Meir Fachler

The Shloshim of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali – My Personal Perspective, Part 2: Visiting Shiva at the Yifrach, Shaer and Frankel Families

(Written three days after the funeral)

Yesterday Michal and I drove to visit the three families of the Eyal, Gilad and Naftali HY”D.

We drove to Elad to the Yifrach family. Alas there was such a stream of VIP politicians that we weren’t able to actually and talk to the parents. We left them a book Michal’s father, Prof Mordechai Rotenberg wrote: שכול והאגדה החיה. 

We then left to Talmon to the Shaer family. Talmon is a pastoral village that looks so tranquil and calm. Unlike the huge mourner’s tent erected in the town of Elad, other than a chair at the entrance, one might have missed the house altogether. Inside was a full room of comforters, including a wonderful young man called Rabbi Shechter from Lawrence in the 5 Towns who was sent by his shul for a day to visit all three families. He helped them understand the impact the last few weeks have had not only on the average Israeli life, but also the profound impact it had and continues to have on the lives of thousands and thousands of Jews in the diaspora. At some stage we managed to sit with the Shaer family, Bat-Galim and Ofir, Gilad’s parents. We spoke to them for a short while, and left them with a copy of my previous Facebook Posting: “The day all of Am Yisrael became Mekochnikim” and a copy of the my father-in-law’s book. Bat-Galim was so excited about the news of the newly-born triplet boys being name after the three murdered boys. As we left, the VIPS’ stared to arrive – so we had made it just in time.

From there we traveled to Nof Ayalon to the Frankel Family. Nof Ayalon, not far from the town Modi’in is also a pastoral village. The parents, Avraham and Rachel were sitting outside in the back garden, which was covered for the occasion. Inside sat a brother who studied in the same class as our youngest Katriel. Here too, we spoke to both parents and left them with the page I wrote and the book.

All three visits were short as was fitting the occasion of the continuous stream of comforters. All the bereaved families we met were even more impressive than they were portrayed in the media. It was clear that they were aware that the whole nation was mourning and that our visits were not only to fulfil the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim, but also to be comforted ourselves. Our thoughts dwelled on the huge challenge that lies ahead of them once the Shiva is over and they become no longer part of the media limelight. Hashem Yerachem.

And so, as we are about to greet Shabbat, we reflect on the roller-coaster week we experienced. From the Solidarity Rally in Kikar Rabin on Sunday, to hearing the bitter news on Monday, to the Levaya on Tuesday, to the Shiva visits on Thursday. We reflect on the z’chut we had to participate in all of these events. We reflect on the renewed sense of unity and love we have for all of Am Yisrael. And as we enter Shabbat here in Yerushalyim, we feel overwhelmed with the z’chut we have at being part of this great nation called Am Yisrael.

Mishamayim Tenuchamu – Venitnachem

About the Author
Meir Fachler is the director of Gemara Berura, a web-app for learning and teaching Talmud.