My heart overflowed this pure joy this week, as I watched video after video of the hostages returning home.
I cried when I saw little Abigail Edan coming home. Hamas murdered both her parents and took her hostage alone—a 3-year-old! She turned 4 in captivity.
I cried as I watched 13-year-old Gali Tarshansky running into her mother’s arms after 54 days in captivity, her mother’s relief tangible.
I cried when I saw Yaffa Adar, 85, the oldest person taken hostage, safely back in Israel.
I cried when I caught that first glimpse of Doron Katz Asher and her children, 2-year-old Raz and 4-year-old Aviv finally coming home.
I cried seeing Emily Hand—who lost her mother to cancer several years ago—reunited with her father and siblings, who initially thought she had been killed by Hamas on October 7.
I feel it as if it’s my joy; I cry as if they’re my children.
And I know I’m not alone. In Sydney, London, Cape Town, Thailand, Panama, Honolulu, Paris, Miami … across the entire globe Jews are glued to the news, feeling the same joy and relief I did.
Watching those long-awaited hugs and kisses … their joy is not an individual joy, it’s our joy!
This is what makes us unique—the true strength of our nation.
We are dispersed across the world, but our hearts remain united. It doesn’t matter which language we speak or which clothes we wear; we are one nation with one heart.
Which other nation can say the same? Where else do you find a nation who feels the joy of those mothers as their own? Who cares about a 4-year-old child as if she were their own?
Gali’s mom’s joy is the joy of every single Jew in the entire world. Emily is our child and Abigail is our child!
This is what makes the nation of Israel so unique.
But it doesn’t only apply in times of crisis. This is how we should be living every day!
When Jack makes a bar mitzvah, it’s my joy too, because we are all family. When Dina struggles, it’s my problem too. When Yankel marries off his child, it’s my simcha too!
This is the long-term lesson we need to take with us from this week: Let’s take the intense love and unity we feel this week, and infuse it into our daily lives—every thought, speech, and action.
Thank you, Hashem, for bringing home our brothers and sisters. Let’s continue praying for the release of all the remaining hostages, and for the IDF to continue its holy work.