memories

Grieving with Israel

The blog at Artscroll.com published the following yesterday under the title “The Nation Grieves”:

Your brethren and the entire House of Israel shall bewail the conflagration.

Leviticus 10:6

We join Klal Yisrael in mourning the loss of the three Kedoshim. May Hashem comfort their parents and families among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem who share their grief. Their ordeal united all Jews in prayer and concern. May that Kiddush Hashem provide them at least a small measure of comfort.

This is the Jewish response to the terrible tragedy of the murders of Jewish yeshiva students Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrah by Arab terrorists, but it doesn’t go far enough.

This isn’t a Jewish tragedy or an Israeli tragedy, it’s the world’s tragedy and we should all mourn. To not acknowledge the outrageous injustice done in their killings and to fail to grieve over them as if they were our own sons would be to tacitly acknowledge and support the human monsters who committed such a heinous act.

I want to be angry. I want to seek revenge. I want to do something. But all I can summon to myself right now is a terrible weight that nearly paralyzes me. I can’t even imagine what the parents and other family members are going through, though as a father and grandfather, I know the feeling of terror at imagining my sons, my daughter, or my grandson being dead.

As a Gentile and a Christian, I don’t want to intrude on Israel’s collective grief but as I see it, the rest of the world has two choices: We either stand with Israel against all forms of terrorism, injustice, anti-Semitism, and Jew hatred or we stand with the murderers and criminals who seek to exterminate the Jewish people and wipe the nation of Israel from the face of the earth, may it never be.

And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse.

Genesis 12:3 (NASB)

This is the God of Creation speaking to the Patriarch Abraham about him, his descendants through Isaac and Jacob, the (future) tribes of Israel, and ultimately all of the Jewish people and their nation.

It’s popular in the liberal news and social media to speak of “being on the right side of history” and conversely, wanting to avoid “being on the wrong side.” But what about being on the right (or wrong) side of God?

My heart and prayers are with all the mourners as the funeral approaches. May the God of their Fathers comfort the parents and may the God of Israel bring justice and finally peace.

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5 thoughts on “Grieving with Israel”

  1. James, I’m grateful for your helping with our grief by writing of it, expressing your emotions, struggling with the enormity of its weight. Processing this heinous act of evil is too hard. Elie Wiesel writes of a midrash that says when God sees the suffering of His children He sheds two tears in the ocean, when they fall, they make a noise so loud it is heard round the world. I can only pray that mankind hears the sound of those two tears from Heaven and reacts by making the choice that needs to be made, as you say: “We either stand with Israel against all forms of terrorism, injustice, anti-Semitism, and Jew hatred or we stand with the murderers and criminals who seek to exterminate the Jewish people and wipe the nation of Israel from the face of the earth, may it never be.”

  2. Thank you, Dan. I wish I could say that this would be the tipping point, the event that would make the world open its eyes to the truth, but Israel has suffered so much and the rest of humanity continually chooses to be blind. Does anyone even remember the Fogel family anymore? When will it all end? I join Israel in crying out to Heaven, “Moshiach now!”

  3. Yes, take heart that I do remember the Fogel family, very well. I can picture their faces in my mind. They are forever in my heart where I pray HaShem sees and regards my treasuring of them like unto a constant prayer. Now Gilad, Naftali and Eyal are placed there as well, like ner tamid, light in the Temple.

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