Tuesday, June 17, 2014

And Life Goes On. But We Do Not Forget.

Last night I went to a barmitzvah made by good friends of mine. They are very special people, tremendous baalei chessed, whose little girl overcame a difficult struggle with cancer. This was the barmitzvah of their oldest child, and it was a tremendous simcha.

Before I went, I was thinking how difficult it must be to make a simcha at a time like this, when everyone is in anguish over the missing boys. Does one simply switch off everything else?

My friends showed me how it's done.

The mother of the barmitzvah boy delivered a rousing speech. She spoke about the tremendous sense of love and unity that she felt with all her family and friends celebrating with them. Everyone had been there for them, helping to make this simcha happen. The emotions in the hall were almost tangible, with everyone feeling so happy together.

And then she noted that right now there are three boys who are in terror, imprisoned in some hellhole not too many miles away. With tears in her eyes and her voice cracking, she looked at her son and said, "These boys are just three years older than you!" She asked us all to seize this powerful moment, in which we were all united with our emotions, take a minute to silently beg Hashem to bring our boys back home. The entire hall fell silent as we each pleaded to Hashem in our minds.

Life goes on. We celebrate milestones, we rejoice in the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. But we do not forget our boys. And, amidst our happiness, amidst everything that we do, we say Hashem, please help our soldiers bring our boys back home.


  1. Making hype about and songs only gives incentive for more kidnappings and hikes up the price of a would-be swap.

    I'm sure if not for the "Gilad Chai" campaign etc., Hamas would've given him for much less than 1,000 terrorists.

    1. gh500, if you have any statistical research to back up your claim, I'm all ears.

    2. Making hype about and songs only gives incentive for more kidnappings and hikes up the price of a would-be swap.

      This is pretty obviously false. The open support of the public certainly gives strength the families, most likely to those involved in the search, and possibly to the captured boys, besides bringing comfort to members of the public themselves. So there is no way that it "only" does anything negative.

      As to the speculation that it may also drive up the ransom price or encourage kidnappings: to the degree that the price is driven up by the concern of the public, almost of all that is based on the actual level of concern, which is obviously high. Trying to "trick" the terrorists into thinking that these boys are less valuable that they really are appears to be an odd and futile strategy, besides the the loss of the benefits described above. Finally, prospects of a large ransom might increase the chances that they are treated as best as we can hope for.

  2. I think that all the hype given to Gilad Shalit is right now giving the current hostages strength. They know that the whole of Israel is in an uproar right now.
    I was at the same bar mitzva and was also very touched by the raw emotions of the bar mitzva boys mother.
    We mustn't play down these feelings of brotherhood. This is our strength against the inhumanity of our enemies. This is true nationhood. All for one and one for all.

  3. I think the next time we enter into any kind of prisoner swap, one of the conditions must be that any further kidnappings or piguim is an automatic reason for re arrests of all the prisoners allowed out under the swap.

  4. I was at a wedding in Manchester yesterday. At the end of the Chuppa, just before the Chazan sang Im Eshcachech Yerushalayim, our Rabbi (the Calla's Father) mentioned the boys and asked us to have them in mind while he sang. It was so moving and a lot of us were in tears.


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