One Lingering Question

Sometimes clarity comes from thinking the unthinkable.

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Comments (73)

(55) Alan Bloom, November 10, 2011 12:15 PM

Difficult questions, difficult answers

The issues you raise are reasonable but nevertheless difficult. To deal with the question of a re-abduction of Shalit is no different than dealing with the question of any "follow-up" abduction. To address that question one need not limit oneself to only the alternative of repeating the conditions of this swap. Could not the Israelis abduct a high-value Palest inian to act as a bargaining chip? Or sweep up a 1000 Palestinians to re-establish the conditions before the swap? There is another aspect to this debate: stated as you have is to depersonalize it. What if it were your child who was abducted? How many Palestinians would you be willing to trade to get her/him back?

(54) Anonymous, November 4, 2011 7:01 PM

The phrase I hate - 'think out of the box'

I hate the phrase 'think out of the box,' but I think it applies here. Rather than lo aleinu we leave that person to rot in a muslim jail or we trade another 1000 murderers, we have to pray that Mossad or IDF would do WHATEVER it takes to get that soldier back, something that failed for Gilad ben Aviva, as I have been davening for him all this time. May this incident of following the Jewish value of life help us merit to have the help of HaShem to teach terrorists once and for all that kidnapping our people is not good for them.

(53) Anonymous, November 4, 2011 2:16 AM

Pointless question

The first question is valid but the second one (Gilad Shalit kidnapped again) seems rhetorical and too far-fetched to be worthy of serious consideration or discussion.

(52) RIKI, November 4, 2011 12:56 AM

complicated but yes

i was born in israel and i have an american passport most israelies my family and i served in the idf and fought yom kippur war,lebanon and etc,our children are still in combats units now.when we join the army(a duty who falls on part of the israelies) we go to defend our country and our people and often we pay a heavy price whether by death or severe injury,if any falls in captivity the goverment's duty is to do everything possible to bring him back home,even if it means releasing terrorists,that is how we act and should act always.every soldier who fell in captivity will tell u that the thing that kept them going through terrible torture and darkness was the believe that they would return home one day to their loved soldier would be left behind,that's the moto and every hebrew mother knows where she sends her child and of his return.that is our strengh and unity.for those of u who rightfully worry about whether some of the released terrorists can harm us,i can say that some will go on killing us but with our big strong army we should be able to defend ourselves.the motivation to kill us and abduct soldiers exists among many of them all the time with or without those terrorists in jail. when we evacuated gaza many of the american(orthodox)jews were angry about it,i remember asking each and everyone of them whether they were willing to send their children to serve in gaza cursed border,neither one of them agreed.we are sad and broken sacrificing our loved oned to defend the land of israel,we want them alive and thriving.i often think if a million or more jews will immigrate to israel we'll be stronger and better.with all the respect visiting is not enough. god help us all!

(51) Anonymous, November 4, 2011 12:06 AM

No need

There should be no need to release those prisoners because something should be done with them. Those who were convicted of murder should be executed. Those who did lesser crimes should be fined exorbitant amounts of money(extorted, like they did for Shalit), if there is no means to pay then it should be collected from the PA or Hamas, in the form of goods or the tax revenues. Those released should be microchipped to keep track of their whereabouts.(Hopefully when they are drugged while asleep.)and then expelled from Israel, including Judea and Samaria. In the future, few prisoners should be taken, those pursuing physical harm to Israeli citizens should be shot while "escaping/resisting", those of lesser crimes deported immediately. There is the possibility of justice in a normal/just world but with these terrorists there is no normal or justice.

Anonymous, November 5, 2011 6:47 PM


I agree.

(50) Eric Jacobson, November 3, 2011 8:13 PM

Just an idea...

In this week's Torah portion, Abram armed his troops and pursued the kidnappers of Lot far beyond the border to bring him, others and their possessions (!) back to freedom. An interesting example, I think. So, in lieu of the unfolding events, an idea: why not release all of their evil murderers now and say loudly to the world "From now on, be hereby warned, we will invade and do as our father Abram showed us." Considering that the Muslims consider Abram their father, what could they say? Do any of you think the world would say "ok, you may do so"? No, the Tanach is ripe with examples of how this will come to pass. You, O Israel, do have many friends out there, however. Many of the people who have commented here are truly correct: HaShem will guide to success if you, Israel, have faith, strength and are exceedingly courageous. Only be strong and courageous! Yes, it was worth it. You got gold and spread light to the nations. Even if many shut their eyes tightly to this truth. Am Israel Chai!

(49) Rosen, November 3, 2011 11:24 AM

favoring life

The prisoner exchange for Shalit's return home is further proof that Israel favors life more than the Palestinians, particularly since Israel doesn't have the death penalty for Palestinian prisoners convicted of murder and/or aiding/abetting terrorism. The only time Israel ever sentenced someone to death was Eichmann during the Nuremberg trials of the Nazis...All in all, these negotiations on freeing at least one IDF soldier in exchange for murderous Palestinian prisoners all depends on who stays and who goes, who lives and who shall perish. Good thing that in the end of this ordeal, Gilad Shalit was written in the book of life for another year. As for the Palestinian prisoners who got released, I hope the IDF will use their best intuition to keep them at bay should they continue more assault on Israel.

(48) Anonymous, November 2, 2011 11:03 PM

Terrorist murderers should have no place in an Israeli jail.

The question you ask is almost too horrific for me to contemplate, but I would like to make a suggestion for the future. I do not understand why convicted terrorists who have murdered, helped carry out murders or who have planned murders are not put to death. I would even go a step further and suggest that the Israelis do research on those serving life sentences. Maybe some of them did other capital crimes and they can be tried on other charges and be put to death. My heart broke for the Shalits and my heart broke for the families whose loved ones' murderers were released. I just do not understand why the murderers are not put to death.

Elana, November 3, 2011 7:19 PM

I agree 100%

I agree one hundred percent to your comment. If Israel knows without a doubt that someone murdered someone else, it should have a capital punishment; instead of feeding and sheltering these murderers. Also, this will defer others who will want to do the same again.

(47) Dorit, November 2, 2011 7:24 PM

We did the right thing

Rabbi, How wonderful that you were in Israel at the time of Gilad Shelit's homecoming. I was not as fortunate, however I was in Israel for a year while he was in captivity. I was standing in my kitchen when my brother told me about Gilad's return. Upon hearing the news I started crying and went weak in the knees. I have to admit that while Gilad was in captivity, I was not very hopeful about his return. Truth be told, I was convinced that he was dead. When I heard he was coming home, I knew it was truly a nes from Hashem! It reminded me that anything is possible if Hashem wills it. I think it important to understand in this situation that this was not about one soldier. Gilad not only represents every Israel solider but also every Jew throughout history that has fought for being Jewish. It was about the impossible becoming reality. Gilad's story of miraculous survival, persistence, and hope is nothing more than the story of the Jewish people. May every Israeli soldier stay safely in Erezt Yisroel and may we continue to see many miracles, and the coming of Mashiach.

(46) Michael, November 2, 2011 4:22 PM

the worst and the best

The decision to release 1000 terrorists was the worst decision Israel has ever made, but it was absolutely the right decision. Get Gilad back, that is the priority, then say what Netanyahu said - if anyone abducts another Israeli citizen, their blood will be on Hama's hands, ie they must expect the full consequences. Let us celebrate with the Shalit family, and become ever united to support Israel unconditionally.

(45) Anonymous, November 2, 2011 4:16 PM


I believe it was incumbent on government to get Gilad Shalit back hopefully alive. I did not think he would be alive right up to the end. But I support the deal. And frankly, prior to release I would have microchipped those Palestinian prisoners who had blood on their hands. This way, they could be tracked easily for the next time they commit crimes against humanity.

(44) Miriam fauth, November 2, 2011 11:53 AM

Please G-d, my prayer is that every one of these freed terrorists has a barrier around them stopping any other acts of harming ANYBODY.

(43) sandra Abraham, November 2, 2011 7:54 AM

we are not g-d and do not know the future.

Rabbi - with all do respect for you and your stance but we are not hasem and cannot and should not predict what will be. The fact that there was a soldier abuducted and in prison does not allow us to play g-d and decide whether his life precedes over others- there are gedolei hador to decide on that. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef sheyichyeh, poseked that his life is more important and must be saved despite the prisoner swap with blood on their hands so we must be united on this point and stand behind him and not judge. The fact that the Isreali gov't does not take sharp action against these terrorists is not Gilad Shalit;s fault.

(42) Anonymous, November 2, 2011 6:05 AM

dealing with terrorists

I wonder whether this invites more kidnapping?

Marc, November 2, 2011 7:42 PM

it doesn't matter

this deal should have been consumated three years ago! it was the correct thing to do. I served in the Israeli army. in the back of my head I knew that somehow I would be returned home if I was captured, that I would be safely removed from the battlefield if I was wounded, and even my body would be retrieved if I was killed. this is the ethos of the Israeli army.

(41) Shoshana, November 2, 2011 5:05 AM

I totally agree with Deborah bach who wrote: 'I really can't understand why Israel didn't shut off water and electricity to Gaza until the Hamas released Gilad. I personally think that the exchange was probably a big mistake'. For Hamas it WAS 'a deal' but for Israel it was 'a disaster' and sadly, I don't think we will have to wait too long to realise it.

(40) Anonymous, November 2, 2011 12:36 AM

Another aspect of this situation...

Apparently the Hamas must think that it takes 1,000 of their men to be worth one Israeli man, Galid Shalit. It cheapens the worth of their people really. But then that is to assume that Hamas are people of honor. And of course, we know that is not true. Israel has much to be proud of!! One soldier worth so much!!

(39) Anonymous, November 2, 2011 12:05 AM

Palestinian terrorists should be executed.

Osama Bin Laden was killed by the CIA. He was not captured and kept in prison for the remainder of his life. Terrorists and those who are involved in planning the murder of innocent people should be executed immediately and not kept in prison for lifetime. Then there will be no prisoner exchange and no chance of capturing more Israeli soldiers. Palestinian murderers should be kept in solitary confinement in secret places, just as Gilad Shalid was. Why should there be a difference? Unless Hamas is tried for not following International Law for Prisoners. Why was Gilad not visited by the Red Cross, who visit Palestinian prisoners and ensure that these murderers are well treated?

(38) Carol, November 1, 2011 9:55 PM


Yes i was in Israel at the time that Gilad was released.And yes it was the right thing to do

(37) Gary Katz, November 1, 2011 9:24 PM

Unfortunately, the bar has been set

Israel needs to start handing out the death penalty for terrorists with blood on their hands. In fact, Israel should plainly inform Hamas that this change in policy was directly caused not only by Gilad's kidnapping, but by Hamas' statements they would continue to kidnap Israelis to gain the release of more murderers. It's only a matter of time before another Gilad Shalit is kidnapped, I'm sorry to predict.

(36) Anonymous, November 1, 2011 8:54 PM

We have no right to question or judge!

As the parent of a soldier, I cannot imagine the pain the Shalits went through every day for 5 years. I know that if it were my son, no price would be too high. Therefore, how can I say that the price for Gilad is too high. Even if G-d forbid, my son were kidnapped by these same terrorists tomorrow, I would not say the price was too high. Shame on the world, and the International Red Cross in particular, for putting Israel in a position where they felt obliged to pay this terrible price. Why didn't the IRC refuse to visit Palestinians in jail until they could see Gilad? Why didn't the UN cut funding to Gaza until Gilad was released? These are the real questions that need to be asked, not whether the price was too high. Let's put the blame where it belongs, with Hamas and its enablers, the international community. Finally, a friend of mine posed the following math question: if 1 Jew = 1000 Palestinians, then does 1 Palestinian = 1/1000 of a Jew?

(35) Anonymous, November 1, 2011 7:50 PM

yes, i would trade another 1000 for one of my children.

yes, i would trade another 1000 for one of my children. Hashem is the Master of the universe.

(34) Antonio Perez, November 1, 2011 6:15 PM

The Unthinkable

First of all, I am overjoyed that Gilad Shalit has been finally released and is reunited with his family. Thank G-d! On the other hand, what I'm concerned about this exchange is that what if just one of those released sets himself off with an explosive device and kills Gilad and a number of other people in a terrorist attack and then that terrorist's sponsors rejoice at his "sacrifice". That is my concern. If only one Israeli is killed as a result of this exchange, was it worth it? When we say never again, we have to stick to it or else it's worthless and the enemies of Israel will use it to their advantage. Thank you Rabbi for your insight. It is always appreciated.

(33) Anonymous, November 1, 2011 6:10 PM

If the Palestinians kidnap someone again.

I think that Israel will not stand for it and will act militarily immediately. This is just my personal thought.

(32) samara gordon, November 1, 2011 5:51 PM


Gilad is worth more than all those doubt they will try to kill and maim again and we will capture them again! But 1 Israeli live is worth more than any number of palestinian terrorist lives...I AM SO GLAD HE IS HOME WHERE HE BELONGS.... AM YISRAEL CHAI!

(31) Anonymous, November 1, 2011 5:49 PM

Thinking the Unthinkable

My husband was an officer in the USArmy during the Vietnam years. I asked him how he felt about the trade. His response was he would not want the terrorists to be released for his freedom. As a soldier he understood that being captured by the enemy could happen and freeing him by freeing those sworn to kill us was truly unthinkable. I would pray for him daily but I would not want him to live with the knowledge that freeing him could be costly to innocents.

(30) Deborah Bach, November 1, 2011 5:29 PM

I have lived in Israel for the last 25 years; I have sons & sons-in-law in combat reserve units. I acutely feel and felt that it could have been my son. I really can't understand why Israel didn't shut off water and electricity to Gaza until the Hamas released Gilad. I personally think that the exchange was probably a big mistake. The ONLY argument for his release in such a lopsided deal which makes any sense is the one that says that the terrorists are always trying to kill us and to kill/kidnap our soldiers. They just don't always succeed because we are so good at preventing them. I personally think that is not so and that unfortunately, we are already beginning to see how Israel has empowered the terrorists (there was a serious stabbing in the Ramot neighborhood in Jerusalem and other incidents, not to mention renewed missile launchings from Gaza into Israel).

(29) Laja Thomas, November 1, 2011 5:09 PM

He is free at last

As a mother of five children i can only say thank you for getting Gilat home. I creied when he was taken and i cried when he was released. The world did not help like they would have if it would have been the other way around, I am sure all the released prisoners looked well feed look what this kid looked like. Maybe it was nit right to release so many for one but his mother and his father I am sure are happy. And I am also happy he is home. why the world does not see anything wrong for this trade i know but we are strong My parents saw death everyday they lost all they loved and they survived we are strong and we will survive. Nobody out there will love us Jews unless we love ourself so lets just be happy and thank G-d Gilat is home. Peace for all of us

(28) DovBer Finkel, November 1, 2011 5:06 PM

I disagree on one point.

You said that the family worked hard for his release. They worked hard with the media and the PR people to sway the public to help force the government to trade for him at any cost. They wanted their son back. I cannot blame them for that, but at great cost to Israel is not right. Why didn't the go to the US and meet with the Obama or the Congress; and go to the UN to get support for his release or at least Red Cross visitation etc. That might have been more effective and if not at least no potential cost to Israel. Regarding the unthinkable; already there is a $1million bounty coming out of Saudi Arabia for the kidnapping of IDF personnel. And how about another unthinkable; a terrorist attack killing and wounding several that is committed by one or more of the released terrorist. How is anybody going to feel then. Of course everybody was happy, it was only right. But how much of that happiness was bouyed up by the media and the PR teams.

(27) Anonymous, November 1, 2011 4:33 PM

Gilad Shalit

BH Gilad is safe. What alarms me is that the media refers to the Palestinians who were released as prisioners, not even mentioning that many of them are convicted murderers. When there is a death due to a bomb or suicide attack, they refer to the "dead", not "mrudered". It would be harder to trade these thousands for one Israeli if the exchanged prisioners were properly described.

(26) Keith S, November 1, 2011 4:25 PM

Prisoner swaps at 1000 for 1

With hindsight, we gain much wisdom. If you see this event being repeated in the future (a special "thanks" to the idiot Saudi baron who put out a $1 million reward for a repeat), perhaps it is time to raise the specter to any enemy of Israel that future swaps will be higher profile swapping one Israeli soldier 3 month period of not being totally blockaded (360 degrees)...or swapping one Israeli soldier in lieu of having to give back 30% of your territory...or one Israeli soldier in lieu of a major invasion. Makes you kinda miss the Code of Hammurabi or Golden Rule as a predictable behavior if you get hostile

(25) David, November 1, 2011 4:25 PM

You ask whether I would trade 1000 prisoners convicted of terrorist activity for the return of a single Israeli soldier. It is a seemingly simple question on the surface, but behind it are many other questions and issues. I can emphatically say that in the framework of a peace treaty ending hostilities with the Palestinians, I would return all of their prisoners in exchange for a guarantee that they would commit no further crimes against Israel. But since this is a highly unlikely scenario, we will probably face circumstances similar to those before the Shalit exchange. I am unconcerned about releasing prisoners who will probably never return to terror; there are several of these. My concern is for those who will likely return to terror. After future terrorist attacks carried out by the criminals being released in the current exchange, people will ask whether the freedom of Gilad Shalit was worth the lives of however many people will have been killed. In a cold analytical analysis, the obvious answer is “No”. But we are not just cold analytical beings. We are swayed by pity for the captured soldier and his family. It is too difficult to compare the name and face of today’s young captive with the shadows of tomorrow’s still anonymous victims. “Will we do it again?” you ask. Yes, we probably will. And we will pay for it with the blood of our sons, our daughters, and our parents. Is it the right thing to do? That depends on your values. It depends on your ability to subdue your emotions to iron logic. It depends on your humanity. If you want something else to think about, get onto Google and look up the IDF’s “Hannibal Procedure”. It is not a secret, and it is currently on the books. If you want yet something else to think about, read my latest blog entry about the Gilad Shalit campaign, written several days before Gilad’s release.

(24) Mindy, November 1, 2011 4:17 PM

Is it fair for a non-Israeli citizen to make that call?

I think this is a question for people in Israel to decide, not me. When the trade was first mentioned to me by someone who had doubts, I said "Millions of people want to murder me, and I am not an Israeli. Adding another thousand is just a drop in the bucket." I think adding another thousand would be the same, BUT I don't have to deal with all those thugs in my neighborhood.

(23) ruth housman, November 1, 2011 4:08 PM

to light one candle and keep it burning

You ask a deep question and it is, in some ways, imponderable, and whatever answers come, it seems they are emergent out of terrible angst. Is there a moral imperative? What must we do, for love? Do we sacrifice one, for the sake of others? In terms of unforeseen consequences, is this barter made in heaven or, in hell? Messages are corrupted. Certainly, a message that goes, We love this young man. We will do everything in our power, including THIS, given its possibly "grave" consequences for the lives of those living in Israel, given the hate for the Israelis, is a message of personal love. One person, does COUNT. Any soldier who is taken in this way, can have HOPE. We stand by him, and will even do, what for some is unthinkable. Now if those who are against Israel, take this as a message, that tells them, Grab some more soldiers, and continue to barter in this way, then of course it's the wrong message, for them, to imbibe. And their loved ones, in hostage, for their acts, will have hope too, of mass liberations. It seems a very difficult situation, and one that does play with hope and with notions of justice and injustice. To leverage this, the freedom of Gilad, to take more hostages, is a very real fear, and yes, it could happen. But we, as a people, have made a statement about LOVE, and that too, is vastly important.

(22) Ann Brady, November 1, 2011 3:55 PM

A Difficult Question

All I can think is: not even 999 Arab terrorists were worth one Jewish man. A thousand, perhaps. But we think of that one dear man, Gilad Shalit, and focus on him and what he symbolizes. Then we begin to try answering this difficult question. Perhaps it cannot be answered for the inequity of the equation.

(21) Eran, November 1, 2011 3:45 PM

The answer s absolutely YES

If there is no other way to bring a live soldier home we must pay the price. The dead terror victims can't be revived by making justice with the murders, but the life of a living human being was saved and can be saved for the price of doing injustice. Life stands over justice.

(20) David Gr, November 1, 2011 3:17 PM

Upping the Ante

Thinking back on that family that was massacred in their home in the middle of the night, would you trade one of perpetrators of that atrocity for a single Israeli soldier? How would we Jews feel if some on those freed prisoners were to commit such an atrocity? As you say, Rabbi, we don't know all the facts behind the trade but I believe it was a big mistake. Because of the potential cost in lives those freed prisoners represent.

(19) Anonymous, November 1, 2011 3:04 PM

Not Something to Think About

With all due respect, the nation wide joy that Rabbi Salomon saw when he was here in Israel at the time of Gilad Shalit's release was a very strong statement that the rabbi's question was NOT something to think about. No one who had joy that day of Gilad's return allowed themselves to think about that question because it was irrelevant to the moment. Everywhere I went people were emotional and full of joy for the return of the boy who everyone had adpted as their child or brother. Was I happy with the deal? No. Were others? No. Were his parents? No. Did many people people think it could have been done in another way? Yes. Did it matter now that it was done and at the moment of his miraculously safe return? No. Many grade 12 boys are signing a document stating that if they are kidnapped, G-d forbid, they do not want such a swap done for them. That is something that affects the future. This whole debate about what was, is not beneficial to Gilad nor to anyone else. At the time of his release, as I witnessed the joy of a nation on the streets and through the news, I felt "what incredible positive energy" and hoped that Hashem would take that energy and unity and incredible force of JOY and rejoicing of LIFE and let it spread to more and more positive energy. Let's not dampen it or weaken it through negative thoughts which, unfortunately also spread. May we always be deserving of having opportunities to rejoice and may we be deserving to show our unity as a people through times of joy. So often we have had to do it through time of tragedy. This day, the ushpizin of Yosef who was also imprisoned and released, was so refreshing. What INCREDIBLE UNITY at a time of JOY.

Francine Cuff, November 1, 2011 4:41 PM

Beautifully and eloquently put.

Yocheved, November 2, 2011 1:13 PM

I absolutely agree.

The written and spoken word cannot be withdrawn once it has gone out. Now everyone is debating what will happen and talking about it. It is not a good thing. We have to trust in Hashem in every respect and not pre-empt events.

(18) Andy, November 1, 2011 2:34 PM

Exchanging Plaestinan freedom fighters for Gilad?

I suspect that even if they are consciously unaware of it most of those who supported the exchange for Igal Shalit don't think of the prisoners as murderers. Not in the same way as if one murdered in cold blood for money or for any purely personal motive. On some level they think of these prisoners as Palestinian militants/fighters who have no army and are using terror as a weapon to destroy the the Jewish State.That's how they view themselves, and many agree.In my opinion when Israel released them in a prisoner exchange and defined it as such it supports this line of thinking. Given that mind set I can see it happening again, as it's only natural that Hamas will try and secure the best deal it can,and this is now where the bar is now resting. The idea of Igal Shalit being captured again is so bizarre that all bets are off as we're dealing with new unchartered territory. The more probable scenario is what happens if one of the released Palestinian prisoners who had blood on his hands is captured again, after committing another act of terror where Jews were killed? Would Israel release him again in a future exchange or as part of a peace deal? While happy for Igal and for his family I think this deal was a victory for Hamas, and not something for Israel to be proud of . Maybe I should not have responded as you requested a response from those who supported the deal. As you implied there is likely more to this deal than is known. I sure hope so.

Monica, November 1, 2011 5:55 PM

"Palestinian freedom fighters"????

Wrong caption, more likely dirty murderers

Andy, November 2, 2011 2:21 PM

Monica, Caption was the point! The Israeli gov't branded them freedom fighters by making the deal

In the words of Sherri Mandell[see aish a mother's pain] " If Israel is willing to free our loved ones’ murderers, then the rest of the world can look on and assume that the terrorists are really freedom fighters or militants. If Palestinians were murdering Jews in cold blood without justification, surely the Israeli government wouldn’t release them. No sane government would."

(17) Bucky, November 1, 2011 2:32 PM


We just go in an arrest another 1,000 prisoners!

Do Lern Hwei, November 1, 2011 4:34 PM

Another solution

Disarm Hamas.

(16) stella barbut, November 1, 2011 2:25 PM

What If ?

Peoples imaginations seem to be running away with them Surely from now onwards the people of Israel and the soldiers will be far more vigilant and therefore less likely to be kidnapped?

Anonymous, November 1, 2011 4:54 PM

Be Like the Lost Bladesman (Guan Yun Chang)!

Not only should enlistees of the IDF sign a document saying that they would not let prisoners swapped for their freedom, if possible they should be trained to get out of captivity. Go watch the movie released last year. Originally in Mandarin but should have been translated. It is a historical movie set in ACE200 during the Three Kingdoms Era. I read Romance of the Three Kingdoms when in High School ( age 12-14)

Bracha, November 1, 2011 6:38 PM


Once an action is taken, the Torah teaches that we let it go, not worry over it, remain positive, not rehash, believe in Hashem, have emunah that it was for the very best. I find it disheartening to bring up these "what ifs?" I am surprised at the posing of the two negative possibitlities to dampen the joy. I agree wholeheartedly, however, with the great impact the display of unity in joy will have in Shamayim. Jews tend to unify often when there is, G-d forbid, tragedy and they are being squeezed. Here is our chance to unify behind a joyful occurrence where we can demonstrate oneness and celebrate and also place our trust in Hashem. Our people were given an opportunity to stand out as a "light unto the nations" and move closer to Hashem. Let's not put a damper on this truth with scary inappropriate questions. We win wars not by the might of an army but by the will of G-d. There is nothing to worry about!!!!

Lyn Morrison, November 2, 2011 11:04 PM

The best posting I have read on the subject

I receive your wisdom and am grateful that you shared it.

(15) David Burger, November 1, 2011 2:24 PM

I think it's time for capital punishment

In response to your question, I believe it's time to execute (I won't mince my words) those who have been proven to be terrorists and to have contributed to the loss of life of innocent people. If this is done, Hamas has nothing to gain by kidnapping Israelis. What can they then trade the captive for? Should it happen again before capital punishment is instituted, terrorists should be executed for each day that the captive is held. I'll leave the number of terrorists to be executed to the Israeli government.

Aniko, November 1, 2011 3:05 PM

Spot on!

Your solution is the best one! The "an eye for an eye" rule was lost in secularist PC and that does not bode well for anyone.

(14) Rejane, November 1, 2011 2:13 PM

I would be ready to give up 1000 terrorists!

For me this is a no brainer, the life of any jew is worth so much more than any terrorists. If Israel keeps on not using the death penalty for them, what's the point anyway to keep them in jail, feed them where they are better off than in their own homes...they can studies, they are toned and in good phisical shape, they are fed, well fed, they have access to TV, radio, cell phones etc...any Jewish life is worth that and many more. For me the real questions is how Gilad, his parents or even myself will be able to deal with a prblem like one of these terrorists comes back to Israel and kill just two more Jews...this is where my mind will be troubled and ask myself whether it was worth it...Although I fought against the death penalty in France I truly believe to avoid these people to hurt again would be to re establish it for terrorists...Now I don't know how permissible it is under the halacha...

(13) Edith Ognall, November 1, 2011 2:12 PM

No concessions to the enemy, they must be destroyed

There is no doubt in my mind nor should there have been in the minds of our government that this was a bad decision that will affect the lives of many more Israelis especially as we know that most of the terrorists already released in different negotiations have recommitted many horrific murders and showed no remorse just like now when they are proud of what they did supported of course by our so called peace partner who has given each released terrorist $5000 and names streets and buildings in the names of the most vile and despicable terrorists. Our government made no attempt to free Gilad Shalit unlike the days of the Entebbe Rescue when we knew that there could be no negotiation with terrorists. We should have taken away every privilege from the terrorists in our jails, unheard of for savages like them to be given free education, conjugal rights, special food and prayer times and heaven knows what else. We should have cut of all supplies to Gaza. Gazans are not innocent civilians, they voted for Hamas, let them deal with it. We owe the Arabs nor the world for that matter, a damn thing. We have to stop thinking like slaves and behave like a Sovereign Nation. Today our IDF would rather avoid confrontation with the enemy than confront them. Ehud Barak who is unfortunately our Defense Minister is a run and surrender man who has been given too much authority by Netanyahu and instead of defeating our enemies which should have been done long before they reached such strength, he destroys Jewish settlement/homes. Did anyone ever imagine that in a Jewish Country, the one we waited to come back to for thousands of years, we would witness a Jewish Government send Jewish soldiers/police to forcibly throw our Jews from their homes and for what - to pacify the goyim who will never be satisfied until we no longer exist.. What does that say for us.

Pat, November 1, 2011 2:49 PM

Great article, Edith

I agree with every word you say. The decision to free Gilad was wrong! This generation of leadership in Israel is not like the old holocaust generation. We were able to rescue over 100 passengers from a far away land 30 yrs. ago and today, with all the fancy technology, we were not able to bring home one soldier from a neighboring land. The enemy now is more plentiful and filled with even more hatred towards us than before. The more we give in to them the more they hate us. Since Shalit is home MORE ROCKETS are coming our way. We need very tough leadership. The only thing these murderers understand is the almighty bullet!

(12) Rita, November 1, 2011 2:05 PM

Follow His Ways

Doesn't the Torah tell us to put to death murderers? If we did what He told us to do we wouldn't have thousands of prisoners. Maybe we should take a lesson from King Saul keeping the king alive. Just food for thought!

(11) Linda Martin, November 1, 2011 1:59 PM

Don't give in to terrorist demands

In the 1970's when hijacking was at its height my husband and I had a pact ... if either of us were held hostage, the authorities should blow up the plane; better to die sending out the message that terrorism won't work than that the world should live in fear of evil.

(10) Ayala Zonnenschein, November 1, 2011 1:52 PM

Yes, I would release 1000 prisoners in a heartbeat to redeem one Jewish soul.

I would actually remove the incentive of the Palestinians to kidnap anyone from Israel by doing a mass release of ALL their prisoners right NOW. Why should we pay to support and feed them for years on end in our prisons? Did you notice how good and healthy they all looked in comparison to the weak and frail Gilad? We should release them now and if G-d forbid they perpetrate another crime against the people of Israel, they should be held in solitary confinement - each and every one of them. They should know this before committing such acts. They count on the humanity of our people.

(9) Anonymous, November 1, 2011 1:45 PM

Ask a better question.

Was the celebration for Shalits genuine? I was in Israel when Entebbe captive were returned. Now that joy was awesone, the highest I've ever experienced in my life. The knowledge that we've collectively done something against Halacha should cause consternation, not a split in Rabbinic authority or different communities in Israel taking multiple sides. The Abarbanel was taken captive in 1400s,His ranson was so costly that he forbade his community to pay ransome, He wrote his commentary in captivity and he died in captivity. Hostage taking petered off after that. Something to think about.

dovid, November 1, 2011 2:04 PM


Abarbanel? You must have had R' Meir of Rothenburg.

(8) Anonymous, November 1, 2011 1:41 PM

the trade was correct

How could you even ask if 1000 terrorists are worth Gilad Shalit.. Of course I would do it Israeli for 1000 terrorists??? Israel gave them their garbage back..and received a piece of gold

Anonymous, November 1, 2011 2:12 PM

brilliant words

How succintly brilliant.

Anonymous, November 1, 2011 3:09 PM

Loved your last sentence.

Loved you last sentence. Well said.

(7) Judith Abrams, November 1, 2011 3:04 AM

we are always in the hands of Hashem

Of course the trade was not natural and to the untrained observer even absurd. However, we are the people of the unnatural and absurd. The fact that Israel exists at all is absurd. Only Hashem can protect us from our enemies and now it is up to us believers to daven for that protection. That is the message that I am walking away with.

(6) meme, October 31, 2011 10:29 PM

It was wrong. The right thing would be for the whole world to get up and say!!! NOOOO! Bring back those prisoners. The world should say this is wrong. Not Natanyahu not us. It should be the world who should put a stop to it. But world is saying stupitities. They equate our Gilad to Murderes and say that they are freedom fighters. Those who do, I wish those people get their sons and daughters stolen and see how they would beg for a war. For the murderers to die a horrid death. Gilad is worth it.... One of us is worth it.... any one of us is worth it.... It's up to Hakadosh Baruchu to protect us now from those evil bastereds. We have shown unbelieveble Kidush Hashem now it is time for HIM to help us.

(5) Anonymous, October 31, 2011 11:19 AM

Track them

I think that one reason the deal was done was for army morale. It showed that we are one body and we will not abandon one of our own. This is important. I think that a better way to do this is to tag all the soldiers. Place a tracking device underneath their skin. The technology is already there. That should look after the problem. And, the enemy might be in for a surprise.

(4) TMay, October 30, 2011 10:14 PM

We did not have to wait long.

The Drudge Report reports very bad news from Saudi Arabia. “Saudi royal offers $900,000 reward for capture of Israeli soldiers” “Khaled's offer comes days after the prominent Saudi cleric, Awad al-Qarni, put $100,000 on the head of every Israeli soldier.” We really have to get off dependency on oil from a nation like Saudi Arabia.

(3) Anonymous, October 30, 2011 9:00 PM

Thank God

Dear Rabbi, Ever since I heard Galid Shalit was kidnapped I prayed for him to be freed. It is a terrible thing that 1000 terrorists were the price to free him. But, aren't we forgetting? All the work and negotiations that freed him was G-d's doing. G-d freed Galid Shalit.

Anonymous, November 1, 2011 3:12 PM

Good point.

So very true. Good point. He was kidnapped, by the way, on Yosef's yarzheit and freed on the day that Yosef is the ushpizin. That isn't coincidence.

Deborah Bach, November 1, 2011 3:52 PM

No, God gives human beings free will.

(2) Judith, October 30, 2011 12:25 PM


Israeli government, being the bunch of sissies they are, are the sole responsibles for such a patethic deal. Yes, I approved of the deal and rejoiced over Gilad coming back alive, in relative good health and in one piece to his family and to his country, the problem were the circumstances that lead to the deal. TERRORISTS SHOULD BE KILLED immediatly after questioning, any people with an inch of common sense punishes murderers. Israel is different, it plays the politically correct game, it shows mercy to the evil and hence becomes utterly evil to the merciful. The lives of the other 7 million citizens are now endangered, not to mention the wound the deal inflicted upon the survivors or those who lost loved ones to terror. For me, the security and integrity of any citizen of the Jewish people, no to mention a soldier, is an axiom, and automatically ensures he should be rescued no matter what. The terms of the "what" should be dictated by Israel, if she only dared to implement Capital punishment, or alternatively flatten Aza, if called for. I had half a dozen of better ideas than this criminal deal, as many of other Israelis did. Yet when a government refuses to see reality as it is, no one is more blind than he who refuses to see. Today the Knesset opens its Winter sessions. I understand that luckily and due to heavy public pressure a law provinding Capital punishment for terrorists is well under way. It's just criminal to free them - or even to keep them alive.

(1) Steven, October 30, 2011 10:35 AM

Where to draw the line?

What if, God forbid, Hamas kidnapped another Jew and said "Ok, everybody move out of Jaffa or Tel Aviv or Jerusalem or even the whole country?" Would you agree to do it any ANY PRICE? Something to think about...


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