We are Heartbroken

We prayed with all of our hearts.

Every day, we prayed for Eyal, Naftali and Gilad. We would wake up thinking about them and their parents. We wanted them to come home.

They are home now, but this is not what we prayed for. Now we grieve their deaths, grieve such senseless violence.

Our hearts are broken.

We are heartbroken because we are family. The Jewish people, from Abraham and Sarah’s day, have been a family writ large. Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were our children, our family. We are crushed that they were cruelly murdered.

We are heartbroken because Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were such fine young men.  Their teachers and friends have spoken about how kind, thoughtful and spiritual these boys were. How could they die at such a young age? We mourn a double tragedy: who Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were, and also, who they could have been. Imagine what these young men could have accomplished by the age of 40?

We are heartbroken by the injustice of it all. How could the lives of these sweet young men be taken by a group of barbaric monsters? How could evildoers triumph?

We are heartbroken for the bereaved parents. Eyal, Gilad and Naftali’s mothers spoke with eloquence and dignity on behalf their sons, and their fathers spoke at the funerals with deep love for their sons. We look at the heartbreak of the parents of these young boys, and our hearts break once again.

We are heartbroken their killers still roam free. The pain of these tragic deaths is overwhelming; the thought that the perpetrators of this horrid crime have escaped justice is absolutely intolerable.

We are heartbroken we couldn’t stop this from happening. No country has done as much as Israel to ensure the safety of its citizens; yet even so, the terrorists cannot be held at bay. And even as Israel insures that it does everything in its’ power to deter future attacks, she mourns this failure, this inability to protect the lives of wonderful young men.

Today, we are heartbroken, because Eyal, Gilad and Naftali should be home, but they are not.

May the one who heals broken hearts bring consolation to the Eyal, Gilad and Naftali’s family, and to all who mourn them.

About the Author
Chaim Steinmetz is senior rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York City. Rabbi Steinmetz has been a congregational Rabbi for over 20 years, and has previously served pulpits in Montreal, Quebec and Mount Vernon, New York.
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