Photo Credit: Lori Lowenthal Marcus (from Israel's Ch. 2 screen capture)
The mothers of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, the Kidnapped Israeli Teenagers.

“Is there anything other than praying that you know of that we can do? Thank you for any leads.” *Question posted by a parent on a Jewish day school listserv. 

The screen door shuts
I exhale for the first time in an hour
My back is to him as I a stand at the sink
The running water masking the sound of a ragged breath leaving my soul

I lift my eyes toward the mountains, from where will come my help?

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He was only gone a short time
Bike riding in the neighborhood with a friend
Enjoying the freedom of almost being finished exams
Feeling the healing warmth of the almost summer sun on his back

My help is from Hashem, Maker of heaven and earth.

But he is just sixteen years old
And so is his best friend
Both of them innocent, emerging adults
On the brink of stepping out into the world

He will not allow my feet to falter; your Guardian does not sleep.

So when I hear that door shut behind him
Feel the presence of his hungry teenage body opening the fridge
Listen to the sound of his voice, his laughter ringing in my kitchen
Filling up my spirit with the music of his being, mercifully lifting my soul

Behold, he neither slumbers nor sleeps, the Guardian of Israel.

The relief washes over me
Both as a comfort and then, sickly, as a tidal wave of Guilt
I feel blessed… I feel lucky…I feel my cup runneth over
I know where my baby boy is

Hashem is your Guardian; Hashem is the protective Shade at your right hand.

My heart fills with bottomless gratitude
At the simple joy of being able to hug him tight
To gaze at his blond hair and beautiful eyes
To feel the warmth of his soul and to know the beat of his heart (by heart)

By day the sun will not harm you, nor the moon by night.

The powerful tears begin to flow
A week of waiting, grief and prayer take their toll
I stand with her in her empty kitchen
There is no slamming of her screen door

Hashem will protect you from every evil; He will guard your soul.

When I try, for a moment, to imagine her fear
It is impossible to place myself in her nightmare
My heart aches for the emptiness she must feel
Not knowing where her baby boy is, not holding him in her arms

Hashem will guard your departure and your arrival, from this time and forever.

I stand at my sink, my back still to him
As the tears fall from my eyes into the warm soapy water
I stand with her, my sister, waiting for her screen door to slam, for her son to return home.
My kitchen is not yet safe until I hear her screen door shut behind him.
Until he is in her arms, safe and sound.

I lift my eyes toward the mountains, from where will come my help?

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Lisa Wise lives in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania with her husband and two 16 year old twin sons who attend yeshiva high school. May our boys return home soon and may their families know only comfort, hope & healing. They are in our hearts & tefillot always.

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