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Op-Ed: Miracles in the Midst of Grief

Grief and miracles,darkness, light and rebirth.
Published: Friday, July 04, 2014 1:41 PM


In this time of grief, we all are thinking of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, three wonderful teens, who were abducted and murdered for only one reason - being Jews.

They were kind, joyful and open. They were helpful and well brought up by loving families. They had their whole life in front of them. They fell victim to the barbarians who were brought up in the opposite way and who are the product of a society that lives on a hate-vitamin.

It is a black week in Jewish history, one more added now to our line of survival from the ashes. Yes, we survive despite the Jew-haters.

The whole House of Israel, all Jews in Diaspora, the friends of the Jewish people and Israel all over the world are crying their hearts out with and for the families of the boys, for the grieving Sha’ar, Frenkel and Yifrah families, symbols of the exemplary Jews who live on their Land once more.

Their boys, their beloved children, did become a symbol for uniting the nation, both inside and outside Israel. And for strengthening the country in unity.

We must strive to be better, to live proudly and productively in justice and kindness. For many years ahead in the minds of very many people there will be inspiration caused by the smiles on the faces of the Israel’s dear boys, Gilad, Eyal and Naftali.

We are sharing the pain of brave and devoted families of Sha’ars, Frenkels and Yifrahs.

We are praying for the souls of the three new martyrs of Israel.

In this grieving time, it is worth to remember the historical fact that the Jewish tears have a miraculous quality: they strengthen Jewish hearts and make Jewish hands steadfast. 

In our grief, we are getting stronger. And no vitamins will help the hate-fed human-like jackals and those who breed them.

Dear boys, your country and your people everywhere in the world will live on with your smiles in our minds.

And dear family of Israel, may the following story help to provide comfort:

The Jewish nation’s existence for six millennia is a miracle. There is no single Jewish life without a miracle.

Miracle is an essential part of our belief; it is a gem of Jewish folklore. It is a source of our hope in the dark, and it is a gift of our dreams. And we know why - because these miracles are true.

The day after the entire Israel, Jews all over the world and people with their hearts in the right place were grieving over the funeral of three Israeli boys laid down in the Modin cemetery at the age of sixteen and nineteen, a Jewish woman in New York gave birth to boy-triplets.

The woman, whose name is Miriam Yocheved Cohen, named her sons Eyal Yosef, Gillad Menachem, and Naftali Chaim, each first name after the teenagers that will be left in the history of Israel as ‘our boys’.

The woman’s own name is very telling too: Miriam and Yocheved are not ‘only’ Moses’ sister and mother, but they are known as the heroic midwives who were secretly and devotedly saving lives of Jewish boys despite the pharaoh’s edict to eliminate every new-born Jewish male.

The heart-breaking triple funeral in Modin took place on the same day when mass of followers of hassidism attended a special memorial ceremony in New York, at the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson commemorating the 20th anniversary of his passing. The 3d of Tammuz in the Jewish calendar, a special day in the hassidic world, now has become also a day of sorrow and memorial for three young lives cruelly cut so short.

Following what was going on in Modin at the day, crying amidst that ocean of tears in Modin, I was thinking that all those thousands of people at the Rebbe’s grave in New York were thinking of the souls of our boys who were laid down in the land of Israel at the same time. I was sure that everyone there and all of them together were thinking of Eyal, Gillad and Naftali and their families. I only did not know how many people would be at the Rebbe’s Ohel ( grave-site) in New York. There were more than one hundred thousand.  

The next day Miriam Yochebed Cohen named her boy-triplets in New York as she did.

The answer to the prayers of all those many thousands of people in Israel and all over the world during all those 18 tormenting days in June, and after the tragic end of the search, has become as a life-affirming one in the most astounding way, a Three Brothers’ Miracle.  

At the time of the boys’ funeral, my husband told me that he was terrified to think about the coming Shabbat at the Sha’ars, Yifrachs and Frenkels observant homes. He was right; it is tragic even to imagine it. The only more terrible thought in my mind was the picture which will stay with me forever, of the three fathers reciting Kaddish for their young sons lying two meters from them wrapped in Israeli flags. If only the Jewish people would never ever have had a Kaddish like that one.

Perhaps with the three baby boys,  three Jewish brothers Eyal Yosef, Gillad Menachem and Naftali Chaim appearing into This World, the coming Shabbat  may spread some Heavenly light in the homes of Sha’ars, Yifrachs and Frenkels families. And for all of us.

Inna and Michael Rogatchi, Finland

Writer Inna Rogatchi and artist Michael Rogatchis are co-founders and leaders of The Rogatchi Foundation – www.rogatchi.org