Release from Darkness: Gilad Shalit

Gilad and Noam ShalitThe Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisonersIsaiah 61:1

A teary-eyed Israel, headed by the Shalit family, welcome Gilad back home to Israel Tuesday after 1,941 days in captivity at the hands of Hamas and allied terrorists, some of whom continued to urge more kidnappings. He has undergoing [sic] medical tests before returning to his family home in the Galilee.


I’m writing this “extra meditation” because I have a selfish reason for being glad Sgt Gilad Shalit was finally released from his captors. My son David is the same age as Gilad and for the entire time Gilad was a captive of Hamas, David was in the United States Marine Corps. David was deployed twice, including a seven month deployment in Iraq. My son, thank God, was never in combat, never shot at, never captured, never injured in an act of war, and was honorably discharged just a little over a year ago. He now lives here in Idaho with his wife and 2 1/2 year old son.

But on David’s dog tags, along with the other usual information about him, it identified him as a Jew.

I’m not Jewish, but my wife is, so that makes my children Jewish. That makes David Jewish. Of course I feared for my son’s safety when he went into war zones but I especially feared that, if captured by the enemy, he would be treated with particular cruelty because he’s Jewish.

I have some small idea of how Gilad’s father, Noam Shalit must have felt when Gilad was in the hands of Hamas.

I also have some small idea of the elation Gilad’s parents must be feeling right now, seeing their son alive and whole for the first time in over five years. Gilad was only 19 years old when he was captured by the terrorist organization Hamas. I can’t imagine what he was put through, though in the days and weeks again, I’m sure the full story of how he was treated in captivity will be released.

But amid the joy of Gilad’s return to his homeland and his family, there are these sobering consequences as reported by the story:

The happiness of the fulfillment of the mitzvah of bringing back a Jew from captivity was mixed with the pain and fear that more Israelis will be murdered by the 1,027 terrorists and security prisoners who were freed in exchange for Shalit.

In Gaza and Ramallah, thousands of Arabs wildly celebrated the return of the first batch of terrorists, except for those to be deported.

Hamas leaders, including one of those released from jail, continued to call for more kidnappings of Israeli soldiers to gain the freedom of terrorists who were not included in the swap.

What will happen and how will Gilad and his family feel the first time one of the freed terrorists commits another murder? I’m not saying that Israel shouldn’t have accepted the deal. As a parent, I selfishly would have done anything to free my son from the band of murderers who were holding him and tormenting him daily. But this young soldier’s freedom comes at a very high price.

Gilad is free and he’s home and he’s safe and I thank God for His kindness and His providence, but I must now pray that the criminals who had to be released in exchange for this one young man are prevented from hurting anyone else. I must also pray for all the other IDF soldiers who are in danger of being kidnapped by terrorists, held, tortured, tormented, and finally released years later in exchange for another thousand killers who are dedicated to the extermination of all Jews and the eradication of Israel.

“A Jew never gives up. We’re here to bring Mashiach, we will settle for nothing less.” –Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh

How many sons and daughters will be killed and kidnapped before the Messiah comes? We want Meshiach now.

5 thoughts on “Release from Darkness: Gilad Shalit”

  1. It’s a very tough decision and no parent should have to face such a choice.

    I remember reading a story about a rabbi in a concentration camp. A heartbroken father came to him for some urgent advise. He asked the rabbi what he should do – he had a chance to pay off capos to have his son (who was scheduled for gassing) released, but that would have meant that another boy, someone else’ child would have to step in his place (the Germans demanded an exact number of children to be sent to the chambers).

    The rabbi was struck to his core. How could he decided something like that? He told the father that didn’t have his books with him, that he didn’t have other rabbis with him (beit din) and he couldn’t make such an important decision. The father of the boy understood what by saying this the rabbi has indeed given him halachic advise. His son’s life couldn’t come at an expense of the life of another child.

  2. Don’t take this the wrong way Gene, but that’s a horrible story. It’s horrible because if I were in that father’s place, I seriously doubt I could allow my son to be gassed, but it would be a black mark on my soul forever that I allowed another man’s son to die in my child’s place.

  3. Did you ever see the movie “The Tenth Man” with Anthony Hopkins? Similar theme, very good discussion material ‘internally’, within one’s own soul, as well as with others ..What complicated creatures we humans are…and what big choices our LORD allows us to make…..

  4. P.S.I am really moved by Israel’s unified desire to save Gilad’s life. What other people in this time would place such high value on one human life? Only the people of The Living God.

    Jesus said, ‘the poor you will always have with you.” Same goes for terrorists. God is not asleep…

  5. Hi Louise,

    No, never heard of the film. Just looked it up and The Tenth Man was originally a short novel written by Graham Greene. It’s difficult for me to consider a work of fiction at the moment, as my emotions are still riding rather high on all of the implications of Gilad’s release.

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