web analytics
September 15, 2014 / 20 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Reflections On The Murder Of Our Boys

Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel: three Israeli teens kidnapped and murdered on June 12, 2014 by Hamas terrorists in Gush Etzion. In their memory, Israel decided this week to designate a lot as state land, near the site where they were abducted.

Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel: three Israeli teens kidnapped and murdered on June 12, 2014 by Hamas terrorists in Gush Etzion. In their memory, Israel decided this week to designate a lot as state land, near the site where they were abducted.
Photo Credit: Public Poster during search for missing teens

My father, who lives in Jerusalem, is ninety-five years old. I’d never seen or heard him cry uncontrollably – until the news came that the three kidnapped Israeli boys, Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frankel, were dead. He sobbed. Over and over he cried out, “They killed the boys, they killed the boys.”

There are no words that can properly describe what we all felt and still feel. But as we move forward, I offer some reflections, dealing with the challenge of what we can do now. These are humble suggestions, as I am the first to acknowledge that I do not have any real answers.

Continue to comfort the families. The Yifrach, Shaar and Frankel families have comported themselves with great nobility. But the hardest part of grieving begins when shiva ends. It’s therefore important that we continue to support the families. And so, as a small gesture, there are three large cards in the lobby of my shul addressed to each of the boys’ families. I encourage families, including children, to come in and write words on them that come from the heart. My wife, Toby, and I will personally deliver the cards to the families. I urge every synagogue and Jewish institution to consider doing the same.

Remember the role of the IDF. In the search for the boys, thousands of soldiers put their lives on the line. At this challenging time, each of us can make a difference by doing something for the IDF. We can contribute to Friends of the IDF, recite tefillot for the soldiers, commit to calling a soldier we know or especially a chayal boded, a soldier who serves even as his or her family lives outside Israel. Special honor should be given to those young men and women from America and around the world who serve in the IDF or in Israel’s National Service (Sherut Leumi).

Maintain a sense of Achdut Yisrael. During these past weeks we felt especially close to each other. Across the political and religious spectrum we lived and breathed as one people. The families of the slain boys led the way. Yair Lapid, a member of the Israeli cabinet who is more to the left, was invited to speak at Gilad’s funeral. Rabbis responded respectfully to Racheli Frankel as she joined the fathers in reciting Kaddish. This sense of crossing lines for the sake of unity must continue.

Categorically reject revenge attacks. With a loud and strong voice we must say “no” to individuals who take the law into their own hands, killing innocents. Racheli Frankel said it best. As soon as she heard that a Palestinian teenager, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, had been kidnapped and killed, she said: “There is no difference between blood and blood. Murder is murder. There is no justification and no atonement for murder.”

In this spirit, I believe we must be careful in how we understand the word nekamah, often translated as revenge. Kel nekamot Hashem (Psalm 94:1) does not mean the Lord is a God of revenge. Rather, it means the Lord is a God of retribution. Revenge is an emotional lashing out and an engaging in collective punishment. Retribution is rational. It is justice based upon a rational system of reward and punishment.

Understand the place of anger. Anger is an emotion. We cannot control what we feel, but we can control our actions and we should not act based on anger. I am angry – very angry. But we reach the highest levels when our emotions can take a back seat to our actions.

Respond to hatred with love. The Midrash says that while Bilamcould have instructed an assistant to saddle his donkey for travel to curse the Jews, he did so himself because his hatred for the Jewish people was so great that it defied the rule. And, the Midrash continues, we must do all we can to counteract hatred that defies the rule with acts of love that defy the rule. Here too we can all make a difference. Each of us can think of one act, one kindness, we can do for another that perhaps can tip the balance of the world.

About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Reflections On The Murder Of Our Boys”

  1. Praying for Israel and Jerusalem

  2. Tired of nations wanting to wipe out the Jews its not right people must stop painting gaza innocent when they are terrorist.Go read the bible you see.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ramallah-based Fatah leader and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman  Mahmoud Abbas still leads the faltering Palestinian Authority "unity government," which includes Gaza's ruling Hamas terrorist organization.
Abbas to Request France Recognize PA State
Latest Indepth Stories
Gas Pump

If simple fuel choice were implemented, the power of petroleum and those who sell it would cease.

ISIS on the Temple Mount

Value of IS: It enables people to see the place to which all other Islamist fascism is headed.

Eller-091214-Word

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

President Obama: “ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents”

he time of the Uman pilgrimage is upon us, and we dare not ignore the opportunity to highlight the danger.

Healing requires that the victim be validated for being harmed and the guilty assume responsibility.

During the war, not once was Hashem’s name mentioned to the nation by Israel’s PM or gov’t officials

How many illegal Arab structures are there in the city? Why are they not being destroyed?

We did not win the war in Gaza because we are still captive to the concept of the 2 state solution.

Trapped in a false notion of power, America will lose the battle in the same way Israel now loses.

It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true that 9/11 changed my life. There is evil in the world. Our grandparents were right.

His many articles on education showed great insight into the problems facing Jewish teachers in a changing student environment.

We cannot forget Secretary Kerry’s obsessive and relentless focus on the Middle East peace process.

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

Simcha is total; sahs is God’s joy in protecting us even when we are most vulnerable.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

the test of moral integrity truly presents itself when one faces difficult situations.

Of paramount importance is that both the king and his people realize that while he is the leader, he is still a subject of God.

Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.

Israel is the only place where we have the potential to fulfill our mandate as the chosen people.

Rav Kook of blessed memory, who said that no matter where a Jew is born, he is born in Israel.

One must act as if everything depends on us and pray as if everything depends on God.

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/reflections-on-the-murder-of-our-boys/2014/07/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: