Of God and Prayers

Of God and Prayers

(Cross Posted on the Times of Israel)

Our Boys. Our boys did not come home safely. Our boys were not rescued and returned to the warm embrace of their families. Our boys – let’s never forget their names – Eyal, Gilad and Naftali – were found, abandoned, dead, half -buried in a field. Their parents never to know again the joy of holding them, of listening to their words of Torah, of refereeing sibling fights. Every meal, every Shabbat meal, every moment for the rest of these parents’ lives will be spent missing their sons and grieving for them.

I grieve. From my safe perch here in New York, my heart is broken into a million pieces. How could this be? How can such sweet innocent children be killed just because they were Jewish?

When my 12 year old son expresses his doubt that God heard his prayers I explain to him that his prayers DID help – we just don’t know how. I do my best to reaffirm his innocent faith in God as I struggle with my own.

The Just and Merciful God that I know wouldn’t have allowed this – yet He allowed the Holocaust and so many other tragedies and atrocities. Yes, God owes us nothing, but please, don’t tell me that it was God’s will that these precious souls were taken from us so violently, so viciously, so vindictively. We have free will – as do the murderers who killed them. 

I shake my fist at the heavens, angry with a God that I am not sure is there, yet in our darkest hour He is the one we all call on. He is the one we blame. He is the one of whom we beg salvation.

I have all these doubts, yet I hold my son close and tell him that we cannot begin to understand God’s plan for the world, and I am sure God didn’t plan for these boys to be killed. That the reasons these horrible terrible tragic things happen sometimes is forever hidden from us – and accepting that is true faith, true belief in God.

These boys could have been my son, your son. I have a son serving in the IDF. He took an oath to protect his country and he will do whatever is asked of him in order to further that end. My second son is making Aliyah in nineteen days – and will be enlisted within the year. My sons will be my representatives in Israel, my contribution to helping keep Israel safe.

I have so many thoughts and feelings as to how Israel should proceed. I don’t live there – how dare I have the gall to opine on what Bibi should do? I do know that any action that needs to be taken needs to proceed with clear goals and a clear head – no decisions made in anger can have good results.

I pray for the families of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. No words any of us can say can comfort them. But I hope they feel the love and caring of us all – not just in Israel, but in the diaspora too.  May our soldiers be protected as they carry out whatever missions are assigned to them, and may there soon be Peace.

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  1. sheldan says:

    I have read a book which addresses these issues which I recommend to all your readers: If G-d is Good, Why is the World So Bad? by Rabbi Benjamin Blech. Maybe ultimately we cannot understand the reasons bad things happen in this world because we are not privy to the reasons and in this world we are not meant to understand.

    As you mention, it’s cold comfort and discouraging when it seems that a Just and Merciful G-d seems to allow evil to happen. But you are also right that it is EVIL HUMAN BEINGS who exercised their free will to commit evil, and in this sense maybe those people are to blame rather than G-d. It’s possible that the best we can hope for if we complain to G-d is a metaphysical answer, and as I said above, maybe our intellect is not intended to understand the answer (until Moshiach comes).

    I am with you in the hopes that Aryeh (and his brother, soon) will be protected in their fight to make Israel safe.

    Baruch Dayan HaEmet. Maybe that is the ultimate answer to this.

  2. Rebecca Fistel says:

    Keeping you, your sons and all of my unknown brothers and sisters in Israel, in my prayers for safety and an end to this pain and suffering of innocent people. How dare we question, how dare we not question?

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