We are One

Worry. Grief. Devastation. Anger. So Many Tears. My heart breaks for family and friends of Gil’Ad, Eyal and Naftali. I never had the privilege of meeting these young men, but I know them and their mothers, fathers, siblings, other relatives and friends – I know and love them because we are one.

This oneness is something that I don’t believe can be experienced completely between Jews until they are living side-by-side in Eretz Israel (I know there are those of you in galut who will say I’m crazy, that you love your communities, etc. but honestly – with all due respect – you really don’t know until you’ve lived here). And so with permission from Rabbi Yehoshua Fass of Nefesh B’Nefesh, I am sharing his letter of strength and encouragement at this most difficult time for Am Yisrael. And as always, I implore you to come home!

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

To my extended family and friends,

We are all experiencing feelings of intense grief, anger and anguish. It is impossible to go about our daily routine without these feelings overshadowing any other thought or action. It is heartbreaking and tear-jerking, as a parent, to find oneself in the position of needing to react to the range of questions and statements from our own children: From the innocence of “how could someone want to kill a child?” to the militant expressions of vengeance.

We feel vulnerable and extraordinarily limited. We are incapable of understanding the pain of these three exceptional families. We feel enormously ill-equipped to know how to heal, treat and tackle the confusion and pain of Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal’s z’l classmates (my nephews included), and to counsel all those who prayed and hoped for, and truly believed in, a better ending.

Tragically compounding all these emotions are the open wounds of those who have been affected by terror in the past, that are better left padlocked.

This morning I received an email from an individual who is scheduled to make Aliyah in the coming weeks. In response to the news, they voiced their concerns about safety and were actually having second thoughts about their Aliyah plans. Although I try to be sensitive in my correspondences, I could barely contain myself. This is precisely the time to come home, I wrote. We must show our brothers and sisters in Israel that we literally (not just figuratively) stand with them; and it is imperative that we declare to our enemies that nothing – nothing – will deter us from returning to our homeland and fulfil the destiny and fate of the Jewish people.

Our generation has been blessed with the miracle of the creation of the State of Israel. For two thousand years, we have longed, prayed and dreamt for this moment. But we live in a constant struggle over our existence in this land. We have shed many tears and we have sacrificed greatly. But we will, with God’s help, continue to build our Holy Land, to raise our families here, to educate our children, to fiercely advocate and aggressively protect our people and hopefully fulfill Hashem’s will – and view each moment as a privilege and treasure.

As we are united in grief, we are also united in efforts to comfort one another, especially to the Shaer, Yifrach, and Fraenkel families. May we all receive the comfort we seek and the strength we need.

rabbi-fass

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