Moshe KempinskiMoshe Kempinski, author of "The Teacher and the Preacher", is the editor of the Jerusalem Insights weekly email journal and co-owner of Shorashim, a Biblical shop and learning center in the Old City of Jerusalem.
One may ask, then, was it all for naught? Can prayers really “work”?
Prayer does not change G-d’s mind, it changes us.
We read that King Hezekiah is told of the Divine decree declaring that he would die. He turns to the wall in prayer and Hashem thereupon rescinds the decree (2 Kings 20:1-6). What did Hezekiah say that G-d was not already aware of and brought about the seeming change? In actual fact, his prayer did not change G-d’s mind at all. Hezekiah’s prayer changed Hezekiah. He became a new Hezekiah after prayer, a new vessel, and as a result was worthy of a different decree.
The crisis and tragedy surrounding these three boys transformed this country. The nobility and steadfast faith of the families of these boys uplifted the collective and individual soul and spirit of this country. The plight of these young men empowered the members of this extended family called Israel to ensure that no stone was left unturned, both physically and spiritually.
There was not a sense of walking as separate entities joining a larger community. The determined and hushed procession towards the gravesite was experienced as if by one collective soul. That feeling of oneness was so palpable that one did not have to acknowledge or express it to any one that was there. They were all there to be with the families .They were there because they needed to be. They needed to stand together, pray together, cry together and simply breath together.
We then return to our question; “was it all for naught? Do prayers “work”?
What do the words “place my tears in Your flask.”mean?
May the memories of the young boys Nafatali, Eyal and Gilad be for a blessing for their families and for all of us. May all those prayers gathered in the heavens bear fruit quickly in our days.