by Ruki Renov
Our hearts are all broken, our tears can’t stop falling over the tragically sad and horrifying news of the cruel and senseless death of Naftali, Eyal and Gilad —three beautiful, innocent boys with great potential. Their deaths leave a major void in this world — three devastated families, three empty seats in a yeshiva, friends, relatives and neighbors shocked and forlorn, three more women in Israel who will not have who to marry, the loss of generations of children that might have come from these precious boys and it leaves every Jewish man, woman and child angry and in pain.
How sad is it that the world is screaming for restraint by Israel rather than shouting and condemning this atrocity? The world’s anger should be focused on the Arab world who has no appreciation of life. To paraphrase Prime Minister Golda Meir, “We will not have peace until the Arabs love their own children as much as they hate the Jews.” The Muslim world does not value life, not that of their own people and certainly not that of ours.
How courageously did these three heart-broken mothers present themselves at the UN. How eloquently did Rachel speak to the world. How magnificently did these three tortured families stay united in their unwavering belief in Hashem Yisboroch!
The Jews are a unique people. We give more, we care more, we love harder. Yes, we are a light unto the nations. Unfortunately, most choose to remain in the dark.
Now, these three families, even in the depths of their pain, are not turning from G-d, but are now turning to G-d.
How understandable, yet horrendously sad it is that people are losing faith in Hashem. Although it feels so discouraging that all Bnei Yisroel davened for the safe return of these boys, we must believe that Hashem has his reasons. It is our job to beseech Hashem and to know that he hears us and always answers us, but we must accept that “no” is also an answer.
In these trying times, we must remember, “For those who question, there are no answers. For those who believe, there are no questions.”
A man went to a Rav and said he no longer wished to remain religious because when he was in Auschwitz he witnessed how badly an Orthodox Jew could conduct himself. He said that there was a man in his barracks who had snuck in a pair of tefilin, which he would only allow others to use if they gave him their meager food rations. Everyday lots of men would line up before this man and hand him their tiny piece of bread or potato for the opportunity to don the tefilin for a couple of minutes. ”If”, he said to the Rav, “a religious Jew could act so despicably”, he himself had no interest in being frum. The Rabbi turned to him and said “Why did you only take note of the frum Jew who behaved so horribly, why did you not take notice of all the pious, frum men who stood in line and were willing to starve in order to put on those Tefillin?”
For those looking to doubt Hashem’s goodness, it is easy to focus on all the tsuros (difficulties) in the world. For those looking for Hashem’s goodness, all one need do is look around and appreciate all he/she is blessed with.
Rav Pesach Krohn tells an amazing, true story of a mother who is dying of Cancer. Her son starts screaming, “Why you?” The mother, compassionately but wisely says, “When I married a wonderful man and so many of my friends didn’t find their bashert, I didn’t ask, why me? When I was blessed with children and many of my friends couldn’t conceive, I didn’t say, why me? When Hashem showered me with brachos, I didn’t question him. , I didn’t say why me then, so what right do I have to question him and ask, why me, now ?”
We can’t question Hashem. We must believe that He has his reasons. Sherri Mandel, the mother of Koby, a 13 yr. old boy murdered by Arabs wrote in her book, Blessings of a Broken Heart, that this world is like the back of a needlepoint all sloppy and disorderly. Yet, the front is a magnificent picture. G-d is weaving a beautiful picture but since we only see the back of it, we can’t understand the beautiful picture that
G-d is creating and only he presently sees.
A non-frum man stopped in at a shul. For Torah reading the Gabai called up one man from the top row left, one man from the middle row right, two men from the bottom row center, one man from the second row right and one man from the top row center. ‘How foolish,’ thought the man, “ why not just pick a whole row of men and make it simple?” What the non-frum man did not understand is that one of these chosen men was getting married that week, three had yurtzeit and two had had baby girls that week. These aliyas to the Torah weren’t random, they were well thought out, but to someone who didn’t understand the process it seemed disorderly and ridiculous. We do not understand why Hashem chooses different individuals to reward or to challenge.
We have to accept that Hashem has a master plan that makes perfect sense. That is why we ask Hashem for daiyah, binah, v’haskael, perception, understanding and intellect. We must have the smarts and understanding to understand that we do not know Hashem’s plan but we must have the emunah to realize Ein ode Milvado, there is no one else but Hashem to trust, to turn to, to beseech, to obey.
No prayers ever go to waste. When the world was davening for Rav Shlomo Zalman Orboch and he passed away, a woman came forward and said she has a brother, who has the same name as Rav Orbuch, who was in a car accident at the time that Rav Orboch was ailing, The doctors said he would never survive but miraculously he did. She said it was because the world was praying for her brother’s name, that he survived. Hashem wanted Rav Shlomo Zalman Orboch to be with him. He had earned his place in Olam Haba but this woman’s brother obviously needed those prayers so he could remain here and complete his tafkid (purpose) on earth.
Trust that Hashem runs the world and knows what he is doing.
How beautiful is it that these three boys had the great zechus of uniting all of Bnei Yisroel from the most secular to the most yeshivish, both in Israel and all across the world. Every Jew awoke and davened for these boys.
Eyal, Gilad, Naftali , three cherished, beloved souls. Each one of us suffers this heart-wrenching loss. May we stay united in prayer for their sake so that their unfortunate deaths have purpose. May we stay united in prayer for our sake so that our cries and tears pierce the gates of shamayim and give Hashem cause to bring Mashiach speedily in our time.
May these precious boys, be a mailitz yosher for all of klol yisroel and may Hashem comfort their families among the mourners of Zion.
*Ruki Renov is the author of The Art of Marriage, The Art of the Date and Don’t Burst My Bubble.