Today it was especially sad at the 12th yartzeit, death anniversary, of our neighbor Avi Siton, HaYa"D, who was murdered by Arab terrorists at his high school in Itamar. That day twelve years ago three teenage boys were murdered, and today over a decade later, the country is praying for the rescue of three more teenage boys. You may know their fates by the time you read this.
Avi's friends are mostly married now, and so are some of his younger siblings. Avi and the two friends murdered with him, Gilad Stiglitz and Netanel Riachi will never marry, have children. They are frozen in time. In the row where Avi is buried there are other boys who were murdered by Arab terrorists, his best friend Shmuel, Avihu, Noam, Yonatan... Yes, they were all murdered by Arab terrorists.
Since before Shabbat we have been praying for Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frankel. Terrible rumors keep flying, hitting us like spears, piercing our hearts. We are hoping and praying for miracles. We keep hearing brave words from government leaders. Our wonderful IDF soldiers are using all they have to convince the terrorists and anyone who may know where the kidnapped boys are to give them to us, to free them from their captivity.
As we prayed li'ilu'i nishmato, to raise the soul of Avi, we also prayed for the safe return of the other boys, Better they stand with us next year at Avi's grave than Avi's welcoming them to Olam HaBa, the Next Word.