I’d just finished my morning prayers when I turned on my computer to learn of the horrific murders of three Israeli boys, Naphtali Fraenkel, Gilad Sha’ar and Eyal Yifrach, abducted 18 days ago near their schools in Gush Etzion.
My heart fell in my chest with shock and dismay over the loss. I’d written a post shortly after their disappearance describing the unity with which Jewry worldwide banded together in prayer–our natural reaction to such news.
Eighteen days is a long time of rallies, beseeching the Almighty and performing mitzvot–God-commanded positive acts–in the merit of the missing young men. Eighteen days was enough for a strong investment of emotion, as Jewish organizations of all types remembered the boys’ plight and continued pleas to God for their safe return.
The young men became symbolic of Jews’ requirement for freedom of movement, freedom from terrorist threat, freedom to pursue normal life. Instead of the outcry diminishing with time, it only increased in fervor, as more individuals and organizations fueled swelling concern.
With the awful outcome, families of the murdered children suffered the most deflating blow possible, but the Jewish family at large also endured injury.
Immediately, my email in-box crammed with statements of grief and mourning from dozens of rabbis and organizations. Every Jewish outlet that ever gleaned my email address, and many not connected to Israel or Judaism, made loud public expressions of horror, sadness and resolve to bring justice to the perpetrators and prevent further terrorist acts.
My husband’s brother Jonathan, resident in Jerusalem for 25 years, spoke on the air with stirring emotion that reflected the intensity of response shared by the emails and internet-disseminated communications.
Given present worldwide Muslim violence and aggression, this animalistic attack engenders anger. Jews have never enjoyed comfort and acceptance, and today’s sad outcome re-ignites solidarity in fighting anti-Semitism and thwarting aggression with strength.
The discovery of the three bodies inflames Jews’ already smoldering ire against those who behave so contrary to God’s rules, while claiming He supports their deathly morality. Viewing photographs of the young men wounds my spirit, but I believe the plethora of emails, statements, articles and discussion causes a cosmic consequence as powerful as anything military. Terrorists may harm bodies, but ultimately, positive spiritual unity will prevail.
This column appears on Diane Medved’s blog, Searching for Bright Light.