"I've Been Kidnapped"
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
Question of the Week:
I have been very disturbed since hearing the recording of the kidnapped boy's emergency call. He clearly says, "I've been kidnapped," but the receiver seems to miss it. This call was only reported to the army hours later, when it was too late. I know it doesn't help, but I'm angry that his call was almost ignored. I don't really have a question as there are no answers. I guess I just want to know, how do I deal with my anger?
The Jewish people are in mourning. We have experienced yet another one of those tragic moments that unite us all in pain. We cannot bring those boys back to life. But we can live our lives differently having been touched by their heartrending story. We can take a lesson from that horrific phone call too.
We stand in awe of the bravery and presence of mind of a sixteen year old to call emergency under the very nose of his captors. And we are shocked by the painfully slow response to that call. The police are investigating what went wrong. But for the rest of us, perhaps we can do our own investigation into our own responses to calls for help.
All around us there are people in need. They call out to us, but do we hear?
As parents and teachers, are we always attentive to our children's needs? If they are acting up, do we investigate the cause?
As rabbis and communal leaders, do we pick up on the distress signals from souls on the edge of our community? If Jews are opting out of Judaism, are we listening to their reasons and responding?
As friends and neighbors, have we ever turned a blind eye to a crisis in the making? In this age of nobody's business, do we just walk by and leave others to suffer alone?
We all have regrets - I should have visited that sick person before it was too late, I should have spent more time with my child when I had the chance, I should have read between the lines and heard that plea for help, I should have said something, I should have offered to help.
Let's resolve from this sad moment onward that we will not wait for a crisis to explode before reacting, and rather than regret later, we will hear the call for help, and respond with love and care.
To our three brothers, Naftali ,Gilad and Eyal: We have heard your call. We will never forget, and we will never be silent.