Our Son is Coming Home

17 Oct

This will be a Tuesday that I will remember for the rest of my life.

If all goes well, 24 hours from my writing this blog entry, Gilad Shalit will be home after 1939 days of captivity in the hands of our enemies, Hamas, in exchange for 1,027 security prisoners, many of them convicted murderers.

Endlessly debated here on TV and in the newspapers has been the obvious question of the appropriateness of paying such a high price for his release given the potential danger it poses to the Israeli public.

For those interested in a fine representation of many modern halachic positions on this matter, Gil Student did a great job of collecting them on his Hirhurim blog back in 2008 when Israel exchanged five Arab prisoners — some of them very dangerous — and the bodies of 200 Arab terrorists for the bodies of an Israeli businessman and two dead Israeli soldiers.

While halacha is central to my life and to the life of the Jewish people as a whole, in this case, the poskim have essentially presented us with a thought-provoking conundrum that both justifies and condemns the deal being made to bring home Gilad Shalit, with reputable rabbinic authorities lined up on both sides. The arguments in both directions are quite persuasive and thus inconclusive.

Therefore, I feel that we have no choice but to look at this question from a completely different perspective – the moral compass of Israeli society.

A fluorescent yellow ribbon has been hanging from the rear-view mirror of our car for many, many months. It is a symbol that Gilaad has not been forgotten. That ribbon has become a part of who we have become as Israeli citizens….that is, members of the extended family of Gilad Shalit. Our children have grown up these five plus years hearing the call for Gilad’s release at every public Zionist gathering. My oldest son served in the 7th Tank Division(Gilad was in the 188th). I recall when he was stationed at Kerem Shalom crossing and he reminded me that that was the place of Gilad’s kidnapping. That certainly brought the story home. Ever since that time, I have included Gilad in my personal daily prayers…..in fact, my prayer for him has become so rote that I am not sure how I am going to remember to leave it out after tomorrow.

We have prayed for his release, demonstrated outside consulates and embassies worldwide for his speedy and safe return. None of those prayers, none of those protests qualified or quantified the cost we would be willing to pay for that release; however, all of us knew that the price tag would not be cheap, and that as time marched forward and the length of his captivity increased, as our restlessness grew, so too the exchange-rate for his release was climbing. Prime Minister Netanyahu claims that this is the most difficult decision he has ever had to make in public office.

However, polls taken of the Israel public have indicated that 90% of us are in favor of the swap – I am included that count. And the reason seems quite clear: Gilad has become our son, and for his safe return home, we have no choice but to take the associated risks. The logic or numbers of prisoners have become completely irrelevant to us. What wouldn’t a parent do to bring his or her child home from captivity!

As Gilad’s parents hug him tomorrow, an entire country will be hugging him as well.

As Noam and Aviva cry, we will cry too.

It will probably take some time before I will be able to remove that ribbon from the rear-view mirror.

Gilad Chai.

Am Yisrael Chai.

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4 Responses to “Our Son is Coming Home”

  1. Debbie Sosland-Edelman Monday, October 17, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    Please take time to read this beautiful, moving Tuesday with Morey blog posting “Our Son is Coming Home.” We’re holding our breath and keeping Gilad in our prayers!

    • Alan Edelman Monday, October 17, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

      WHEN Gilad is home, it will truly be z’man simhateinu. And since it will be Tuesday…ki tov twice (from this week’s parasha).

  2. David Leichman Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    This is a very special posting, in a very special time. Kol Hakavod Morey and I thank you for your thoughts..

  3. carolducak123 Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    It is not every day that OUR SON is everyone’s SON! Coming home at long last!

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