Bang a Drum

I’d bang a drum for the dying
Bang a drum for the truth
Bang a drum for the innocence lost in our youth – Jon Bon Jovi, Blaze of Glory album

Dedicated in memory of  Leiby Kletzky, the little boy who was just trying to meet his parents.

I can’t find it in myself to write about yeshiva education this week. My heart is broken for the Kletzky family, for their community, for what they must all be feeling right now. To lose a child is the worst nightmare for every parent. For it to happen in such a brutal, horrific way is beyond a nightmare. That the person responsible is from within the community, is unthinkable, unimaginable.

We teach our children to be wary of strangers. We tell them never to get in a car with someone they don’t know,  not to talk to people they haven’t seen before, not to answer when a stranger tries to strike up conversation with them. At the same time, we teach them that Hashem watches over each of us, “if we say Shema at night, everything will be alright”…

How do we teach our children that sometimes, even people “just like us” can do terrible, evil things? Do we teach them not to trust anyone at all? Do we teach them that it is better to be lost and find their own way, but don’t ever ask a stranger for directions? Or do we keep them under our watchful eye all the time, never allowing them any independence until they go to college? Some say that 9 is too young to walk 7 blocks. Some say it isn’t . Truthfully, I don’t think I would let my 9 year old walk 7 blocks, but in Florida no one walks 7 blocks. In broad daylight in Brooklyn, I imagine a lot of people are walking at least 7 blocks. In broad daylight!

The Kletzky family has lost their child forever, in the most tragic way. Leiby will never come home,  may his memory be a blessing. and may his family know no more sorrow. HaMakom yenachem etchem betoch sha’ar avlei Tzion veYerushalyim.

For Aviva and Noam Schalit there is still hope that their son will come home and be reunited with his family. Gilad Schalit has been held in captivity for more than 5 years by Hamas. There has been little outcry from the world at large, no real push to force Hamas to allow the Red Cross to visit Gilad, no cries of inhumane behavior from the many groups who accuse Israel day in and day out of “crimes against humanity”.

Last night and today, women all over the world are coming together to bake challah for Gilad, with the hope that the power of prayer, along with the mitzvah of hafrashat challah, will somehow result in Gilad coming home. Each week, groups of 40+ women bake challah in the zechut (merit) of someone who is in need of prayers. Since the Boca Raton group began a little over a year ago, under the guidance of the wonderful Miri Grunhaus, many prayers have been answered. It is impossible to know if these miracles are the result of women’s prayer, or simply coincidence. But we have to believe that there is Divine intervention, and that the Almighty has a Hand in all of it. Please G-d, let it be Your will, that the Schalits will be reunited with their son, Gilad ben Aviva, alive and healthy very soon.

Shabbat Shalom.


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