It has been three days since the grisly murders at Merkaz Harav. I clicked on to the news sites and saw the faces of the beautiful young boys gunned down. Oh those faces, sweet young smiling faces. How they speak to me. All the stages you know they go through, all the hours and years put into raising them and building them, gone in a moment.
The funeral was something to behold. It was an experience filled with reverence and holiness. Thousands came. There should have been tens of thousands. It started with a kindness to the living. The day was hot, a dry desert wind blowing. People were closely packed. I felt a kinship with all the women standing next to me, although I did not know anyone. There was an announcement that they would be distributing water. I have never been at a funeral that did that.
This funeral was different in so many ways. This funeral, as the eight boys draped in talleisim lay before their yeshiva, was perhaps the saddest one I have ever attended. It wasn't only the youth of the boys; it was also a feeling that the Arabs had struck at our very essence. Our Godliness was challenged, our Torah was trampled. Like Amalek many years ago, they came to destroy it. They came to make us question God and His providence; they came to dismantle our emotional and spiritual core.
The ambulances stacked up, waiting to take them to their burial places. Seeing them lined up like that made me cry from a depth I didn't know I had.
Then I heard it, a wailing sound from thousands of people all happening at the same moment. The crowd was as one
Then I heard it, a wailing sound from thousands of people all happening at the same moment. The crowd was as one. I remembered the verse in the book of Exodus, "And it came to pass in the course of those many days, the king of Egypt died and the children of Israel sighed from the bondage, and they cried, and their cry went up unto God from the bondage."
Grown men, women and children all crying. We stood there and just wept as the desert wind gently blew. Many words were spoken, heartfelt, sincere and necessary words, but somehow it was the crying that cut to the core. The cry of the children of Israel.
This is no small thing. When it is sincere and very deep it reaches the uppermost heavens. It reaches the Almighty Himself: "And now behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me; moreover I have seen the oppression whereby the Egyptians oppress them."
We are at a point in history when as Jews we are being assailed from all sides. Even defending ourselves is cause for critique and condemnation. It is almost as if the world has reached a point where they would like to pretend that we did not give them the Ten Commandments. They would like to believe that it is they who have the moral upper hand. It is enough to make one scream in frustration and pain at the absolute falsity of it all.
But at the end of the day it doesn't really matter what they think. At the end of the day what matters is that there are eight beautiful and holy boys taken from us. What matters is that we cry, what matters is that we never stop caring, that we dare not forget Amalek .And ultimately what matters more than anything else in the world is that we know with absolute certainty that the cry of the children of Israel will be answered by God Himself.