Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bring Back Our boys: Statement by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz

From the Facebook page of Rabbi Steinsaltz : Statement on the terrorist kidnapping of three boys from Yeshivat Mekor Chaim and Kfar Etzion

The kidnapping of our students is a shocking, painful and frightening event. In a time and place that had seemed to us quiet and serene, we have been thrown into an event that we can do nothing to resolve.

Perhaps we are better off than in past times, when we were totally unable even to attempt rescue and deliverance. We are grateful to the Israel Defense Forces for all their efforts.

Still we, the families, the friends and the teachers of the kidnapped boys are standing with "idle hands" (Ecclesiastes 10:18). All we have left now is to turn to our Father in Heaven and plead. We do not despair because we doubt our Heavenly Father. Rather we feel helpless because, "God is in Heaven and you are upon earth" (Ecclesiastes 5:1).

Thus, we can never know the extent our pleas and cries reach Heaven -- and also have some effect here, on earth. What we can do – and this has been the Jewish way from time immemorial – is to add more holiness and learn more Torah. If we can, each of us should take upon ourselves something additional, no matter how small, especially and explicitly devoted for the sake and well-being of the missing boys:

Naftali Frankel (Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah)
Gilad Shaar (Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim)
Eyal Yifrach (Eyal ben Iris Tesura)

Furthermore, we Jews have always been accustomed to reciting the Psalms, and we certainly ought to do more of this, especially two psalms that seem to me most relevant: Psalms 142 and 143, chapters that literally deal with our plight. We pray also for the safety of those who are working toward their rescue.

May it be God's will that in their merit, and for the merit of their suffering, together with our prayers and good deeds, we shall soon see our boys returned to us, God willing, safe and sound.

Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz

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