The first thing I did was cry when I heard the heart wrenching news that the three kidnapped boys in Israel were not just kidnapped, but murdered. Almost the next thing I did was get off of Facebook. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to comment, I didn’t want to read comments or links to articles. I just wanted to ignore it, to not feel the pain. But how can I not feel the pain when practically the whole Jewish people are weeping? It’s not possible.
We all have different reactions to tragedy. Some of us get angry and cry for revenge. Some of us are unable to stop crying. Some wonder how to tell our children. We may be feeling different things, but we are all feeling together.
Together is something that seems to crop up a lot during times of crisis. And as a people, we are good at banding together when we need to. It seems like that it’s a common refrain at sad, tense times: That we are united, and what a shame it is that it always takes a crisis to unite us.
Honestly, I’m tired of hearing it. I’m tired of hearing platitudes about how we should keep the unity going, but not plans on how to do it. Words are good, words can be very powerful, but what good are words when we are once again swept away in the flow of mundane life, with all its petty grievances, annoying neighbors, impossible relatives, and so on?
I remember the clarity I felt after my sister-in-law’s death. I really saw with such certainty the direction that I wanted to go, how I wanted to act and who I wanted to be. But the clarity fades. Inspiration fades. That’s what it does. We have to latch onto it with actions while we’re feeling it.
So while we are still at the peak of our pain over these boys, while we are having all the feelings, why not commit to one act that will be a merit for the boys, and a merit for peace.
For Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel, commit to:
- learning the laws of the power of speech
- being kind to someone who is difficult to be around or to tolerate
- letting go of a petty grievance
- not talking on your phone while in the checkout line
- making small talk with the cashier in the grocery store
- being more patient with your children or family
- giving someone the benefit of the doubt
- looking at someone who annoys you as a person and not just someone who annoys you
- lighting Shabbos candles, even just once
- signing up for a Partner in Torah
- smiling and greeting everyone you see
I commit to listening to at least one Torah class or lecture a week (which I totally have not been doing)
May all who mourn be comforted, and may the memory of these precious boys be a blessing.