web analytics
January 28, 2015 / 8 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


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
The IAF reportedly hit a Syrian military target in Damascus around midnight.
IDF Retaliates Against Syrian Military Targets, Sets Off Rocket Alarms on the Golan
Latest Indepth Stories
Is "the word is the thing"? Abbas sits behind "Palestine" sign at the United Nations.

Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t

obama-connecticut-school-shooting-275x206

There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.

Baby

Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.

.Voting in the Likud Primaries

Since the passing of the Governance bill legislation on March 11, 2014, new alignments have become to appear in Israeli politics.

Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves

The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.

Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians

Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps

Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.

How many sites that tell you to check your politics at the door have 10,000 likes?

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Weiss-012315

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

The plagues don’t reveal a God of vengeance but of compassion; after each triplet Egypt can repent

“He looked this way and that way” means Moses looked within to see whether he was Egyptian or Jewish

When Yaakov asks “Who are these?” he’s means “Do my grandchildren identify as Egyptians or Jews?”

Though we Jews have deep obligations to all people our obligation to our fellow Jew is unique.

The dreams revealed their differences: The butler was active; the baker completely passive.

Benno Yaakov, the German Jewish commentator, posits Yaakov’s limping caused Eisav’s change of heart.

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: