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May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
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The Personification Of Rachel Imeinu

Mother of Naftali Frankel, Rachel Frankel, seen crying over the body of her son, during the joint funeral for the three murdered Jewish teens, in the Modiin cemetery, on July 1, 2014.

Mother of Naftali Frankel, Rachel Frankel, seen crying over the body of her son, during the joint funeral for the three murdered Jewish teens, in the Modiin cemetery, on July 1, 2014.
Photo Credit: Flash90

This past Shabbat I was part of something so sad, so beautiful, and so inspiring, it is hard to put to words.

I spent Shabbat in Nof Ayalon with my sister and her family. Everyone there was intensely involved in helping the family of Naftali Frankel, one of our kidnapped boys, who live in the neighborhood. Food was provided, prayers said, comfort given.

The special youth in the neighborhood spent a lot of their time outside the Frankel home, sitting under a tent-like structure (the Mahal) with electric connections set up so could have fans to help fight the heat.

The young people, divided by gender, would take turns using the Mahal as a place to learn Torah or pray for the boys’ safe return.

This Shabbat (as was the case on the previous Shabbat) the young women, their mothers, and younger sisters all sat outside the Frankel home, singing songs of emunah and yearning. I was one of those present.

We sang songs that resonated with all. Many had their eyes closed, swaying as they sang. Some, including Racheli Frankel, Naftali’s mother, looked up to the heavens at times. Many, like Racheli, wiped tears away as they sang.

There were some songs that sounded like they were written just for this time, for these boys and their mothers. Sometimes I found it too painful to join in and just sent a silent prayer to Hashem to please help these families, to please help us all.

One song that affected me strongly speaks of the rightness of thanking Hashem – “Tov L’hodotLaHashem.” Those among the crowd who had been there the previous Shabbat understood why our Racheli was smiling through her tears as she sang this song. It seems that at some point on that prior Shabbat, Racheli had gotten up to speak to the girls sitting at her feet under the Mahal.

She told them how important and uplifting it was for her to hear them singing songs of inspiration, of emunah. She said it was equally important not to forget to thank Hashem, even in this most difficult of times. We must all thank Hashem for being alive, for having things to be happy about, she said. She then asked them to sing “Tov L’hodot LaHashem.”

When we sang the song about our Mother Rachel weeping for her sons and then being told by Hashem to stop crying because things would turn out all right, there was an added measure of emotion as we watched this personification of Mother Rachel before our eyes.

Just like Mother Rachel, this Racheli wept not just for her child but for all our children, for the safety of our brave chayalim, and for the unity of Klal Yisrael. She never ceased in her efforts to advance the cause of our missing boys.

She is truly a mother to all of us. Even while waiting for news about her son and the two other boys, she worried about, prayed for, and counseled those around her. She told us not to give up hope but to be prepared if, chas v’shalom, things would not turn out the way we all prayed they would.

As we know, our boys were found, but not the way any of us had wanted.

When praying, we’d first asked for the safety of the three of them. We prayed, too, that they be brought home to their waiting families. We also prayed that if that was not to be, then please, Hashem, let the families be able to bring them home for burial and let them have the chance to sit shiva. Let them have the chance to begin healing and sleeping a little more at night. Let them not have to wait another minute in agony, not knowing where their sons are.

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6 Responses to “The Personification Of Rachel Imeinu”

  1. Prayers are with you

  2. Nicky Hewie says:

    How terrible – my thoughts are with you.

  3. Nicky Hewie says:

    How terrible – my thoughts are with you.

  4. As we prayed, then grieved with you from Texas a thankfulness came this day…. The sharing of this unspeakable acts has become a source of healing for so many !! Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet

  5. Jason Taché says:

    May The Almighty grant 70 virgins to all of The Islamic Fundamentalists speadily in our days Amen.

  6. GOD BLESS YOU ISRAEL…
    GOD LOVES YOU ISRAEL.
    GOD PROTECT YOU ISRAEL.
    WE ALL LOVE +STAND WITH YOU ISRAEL..
    MY PRAYERS WHITH THE FAMILY+GOD BLESS YOU…

Comments are closed.

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It all started with the recent deluge of rain we here in Israel were privileged to have.

Mother of Naftali Frankel, Rachel Frankel, seen crying over the body of her son, during the joint funeral for the three murdered Jewish teens, in the Modiin cemetery, on July 1, 2014.

Loving tears shed by Jewish mothers for their beloved children from Rachel Imeinu to Racheli Frankel.

A few seats away, I noticed a man with a Mishnah in hand, talking intently into a cell phone. I soon realized the man was participating in a Daf Yomi shiur, utilizing his traveling time well.

I insisted that one decoration, a dancing sevivon (dreidel) man, remain hanging in recognition of the chag. Some in my family questioned the appropriateness of this decision. Was it proper to have decorations hanging in what would soon become a house of shiva?

Shimon’s early years were not easy ones. His mother struggled to support both of them. She never acquired the knowledge needed to help her son through school years filled with homework and tests.

Chaim (not his real name) was walking down the street, feeling very discouraged. It seemed that lately, the news was filled with stories depicting the disparities, distrust and dislike between the different streams of Jews living in Israel. Much of it revolved around the different religious affiliations or non-affiliations that people adhered to. There were times when Chaim felt the situation was hopeless, with no way to bring people together as a cohesive group – despite their differences.

Like many religious Jews, our bookshelves contain a variety of sefarim. Among the sifrei Mishnah, the Gemara, the Chumashim, among others, there is one sefer that has special meaning to my family and me.

The rav was not a wealthy man, but earned enough to live comfortably. He earned his money by serving as the rav of a religious community in Yerushalayim. He also received some royalties from sefarim he had written over the years. He was well known, and many people approached him for a berachah, advice and help. They were not turned away.

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