The hearts of Am Yisrael, of Jews wherever they are, are with the bereaved families, the Frankels, the Shaars, and the Yifrachs, who are mourning the cold-blooded murder of their dear sons, young boys for whom they had great hopes: Naftali Yaakov, Gilad Michael and Eyal, Hashem yinkom damam.
The world of these special families, who displayed tremendous emotional fortitude through the difficult days of vacillating between hope and despair, has crumbled around them. Their loved ones, their young sons, whose entire lives seemed ahead of them, fell captive to murderers who killed them for one reason: They were Jews.
There are no words that we can write or say to bring comfort to the broken hearts of the families. There are no sentences that can be accepted by their hearts, other than the language Chazal instituted for times of grief: “HaMakom yenachem es’chem besoch sha’ar aveilei Tzion v’Yerushalayim, v’lo tosifu l’daavah od — May Hashem console you, together with all the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim. And may you know of no more sorrow.”
However, we cannot avoid mentioning the tremendous zechus that escorted these three martyrs — and that is the unity that they inspired in Am Yisrael, the feeling of togetherness that they fostered among Jews everywhere, the power of mass solidarity in tefillah. We must do everything so this lofty concept of “united in pain” should remain with us even in as we continue the routine of life.
The hearts are twisted in pain, and the dead are just about buried, and all our thoughts are focused on the searing grief as we pray for an aliyah for their neshamos. Naturally, the political and defense establishments are working on responses; they are also studying all the details from the moment of the kidnapping until the moment the bodies were found. There is no doubt that the incident must be thoroughly studied, not in order to find the failures or to point fingers in blame, but rather to make sure that whatever must be done will be done. The lessons must be learned to prevent future tragedies.
During this difficult hour, it is necessary to emphasize and to show the world the brutality, the barbarism and the heartlessness of the murderers. These creatures who resemble humans had no mercy and felt no compunction about murdering three young boys who had done nothing to anyone. It’s important that the world should know who we are dealing with, what kind of lowly murderers they are, and how careful we must be to stay away from them.
And, in the interim, the togetherness that was felt when we worried for their welfare will strengthen the hearts of everyone in emunah and bitachon in the Creator, with the knowledge, as we read in Kinos l’Tishah b’Av, that “Atah sivram v’atah eyalusam; chadesh yameinu ki’yemei kadmonei, kena’amcha boneh Yerushalayim [Hashem].— You are their support and You are their hope. Renew our days like the days of our ancestors, as You promised, Builder of Yerushalayim, Hashem.”