When Jonathan asked me to go and visit the families of the three kidnapped teens, Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaer and Ayal Yifrach, at first I was hesitant for fear that a visit would be intrusive at this time and perhaps not very welcome.
I could not have been more mistaken.
I could not have been more pleasantly surprised by the warm and welcome reception that Jonathan’s gesture of sending his wife with a message of support received.
All three families are exceptional and outstanding.
The Frankels, Shaers and Yifrachs live in different cities, miles apart, and they certainly did not consult with each other prior to my visit, but each family reacted with such grace and joy over the visit that it was quite incredible to get the same deeply touching response three times in a row!
Each of the families responded with an outpouring of love and thanks to Jonathan. Each offered their prayers, support and solidarity for his release. Each family expressed amazement that Jonathan in his desperate situation could still care so deeply and feel so distressed to learn of their situation.
While I hate to make the families sound so homogeneous because each is unique, what the three families share in common is their amazing faith and trust in Heaven, and their enormous love and appreciation for the people of Israel. Their graciousness, gratitude and endless trust in G-d was overwhelming.
In all three visits, I never heard a word of complaint, or distress, or fear — though it would be easy to forgive all three under the circumstances. I heard only positive sentiments about the efforts of the government and the outpouring of prayer and love from all of Israel.
My visit with the Frankel family in Nof Ayalon started the journey. I was deeply impressed by their warmth and their faith. I never expected to see such amazing wholeness and wholesomeness in a family undergoing such an ordeal
Imagine my surprise when in the next visit on my route, I met the Shaer family in Talmon and encountered yet another family that distinguishes itself through its faith and positive attitude in the face of such a nightmare, counting minutes, hours and days since their only son was taken captive.
The Shaer family also expressed tremendous appreciation and support for Jonathan, and displayed only courage, hopefulness and trust in Heaven. It was an honor to meet them.
I never expected a trifecta, but my next meeting with the Yifrach family in Elad was equally as overwhelming.
Iris Yifrach, Ayael’s mother, greeted me at the door like a long-lost sister. She and her husband could not get over Jonathan’s continued devotion to the people of Israel. They were very effusive and sincere in their gratitude to Jonathan, and to all of the people of Israel. They had only positive things to say about the efforts of the government and the IDF. I found myself repeatedly deeply moved by their expressions of profound faith and their incredibly positive attitude.
All three visits were shielded from media (which waited outside) so while the families were free to speak their mind without microphones or cameras intruding, I had the honor of witnessing how each family spoke from the heart only words of faith and comfort and trust. Only positive thoughts. Faith in Heaven and enormous gratitude to all.
For one family to behave with such grace and dignity under the circumstances, would have been impressive. But to have had the honor to witness this superior level of functioning on the part of all three families who are living the worst nightmare of every parent in Israel, of every citizen in Israel, is remarkable beyond words.
Jonathan and I were deeply touched by their words and their regal behavior.
Having met the amazing, courageous, brave, deeply dignified parents of Ayal, Naftali and Gilad, it is easy to know who their sons are — precious pure souls, who are not only in need of our prayers and our efforts but utterly worthy in every respect. May G-d bless them and protect them and send them speedily home, to their parents, to their families, and to us! Amen!
When I reported the above to Jonathan, he asked me to please repeat the call for prayer to all of Israel. We must continue to storm the Heavens in solidarity to bring the boys home.
Please say Psalm 30 and Psalm 121 (and more) for the immediate release of our boys and their swift safe return home to their families and to the people of Israel:
Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah
Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim
Ayal ben Iris Teshurah