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Fallen Soldier´s Father Sees Meaning In Pain

Memorial Day ceremonies took place this morning in 42 military cemeteries for the 21,540 fallen fighters in Israel's wars since 1860 and the some 3,000 terrorist victims.
First Publish: 5/6/2003, 6:48 PM

Memorial Day ceremonies took place this morning in 42 military cemeteries for the 21,540 fallen fighters in Israel's wars since 1860 and the some 3,000 terrorist victims. A memorial was held later this afternoon for those hanged in Acre by the British before the establishment of Israel. Their descendants and relatives are visiting their gravesites in Tzfat, Rosh Pina, and Mt. Of Olives in Jerusalem. Another ceremony held at the Mt. of Olives cemetery today remembered the fallen residents of Old City of Jerusalem, which was captured during the War of Independence. Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin said there, "The Jewish Nation merited the re-establishment of its sovereign capital in Jerusalem in the merit of the dedication of those who fell then."

Prime Minister Sharon spoke at the Mt. Herzl ceremony in Jerusalem. In Beit El, Yaakov Gutman, the father of fallen IDF soldier Chizky Gutman - who was killed last June in a battle with Arabs in northern Gaza - said the following:

"...At first, there was the shock and confusion and disbelief. But the jolt passed in light of the bitter reality that smacked us in the face.

"Afterwards came the tears, when we began to comprehend that we would no longer see Chizky come home. But that wellspring of tears from our eyes also dried up, and we were left only with the tears of our heart.

"Afterwards came the sorrow - the sorrow over the loss of life, over a charming youth who had barely begun his life. But the sorrow for him also passed when we understood that those killed for G-d's Kingdom... dwell under the Wings of the Divine Presence. Such that only the pain remains - pain that came when we began to understand that there was now no one to gladden us, that there was now no one to remind us to take care of Saba and Savta [the grandparents] or of other people. This is a pain that merges with the pain of G-d Who cannot be properly sanctified in the world because of the deficiency amongst his forces.

"And this pain does not go away, but rather gets stronger and stronger. But lo and behold: Precisely as the pain gets stronger, as we feel more and more longing for the goodness that is no longer with us, we become more humane, and we thereby become more Divine - and consequently, His holy name becomes more sanctified in the world. This is what forms the basis of building the Land, and for the complete redemption - and so it turns out that the Divine purpose is thus fulfilled..."

"This is how we understand the Medrash that tells of the traveling child who asks his father when they would arrive at the city of their destination. The father answers, "My son, when you see a cemetery, that's a sign that the city is close by." There is a technical seeing of a cemetery close to a city - but there is a much deeper seeing, as when our Patriarch Abraham "saw the place [for the binding of his son Isaac] from afar." This is a seeing that is an understanding and appreciation of all those who sanctified their lives and gave their lives for the nation and the land, and in whose merit, the "city is close."

[The speaker now mentions several residents of Beit El who fell at the hands of terrorists over the past few years.]
"Arik Krugliak sits in the pre-military academy of Atzmona, planning how to build himself for the benefit of the Nation of Israel. Ohad Bachrach takes a hike in the paths of the Land, simply because he loves the Land - so much so that his blood was spattered on the wall of the altar. Chizky goes and sacrifices himself so that people like Amitai Kapach, and Ita and Ephraim Tzur, who want to build homes in the Land of Israel and fulfill their vision and their Zionism - can come home safely, and await the day when, finally, "the sword will not pass in your land, and you will be able to dwell securely in it."

"They join a long caravan of those who sanctify G-d's Name in the world, beginning with our Father Isaac who was willing to give his life for the word of G-d; continuing with the Anusim [Marranos] in Spain and Portugal; and the victims of the Chmelnitzky pogroms; and the terrible Holocaust in which a Jew was killed only because he was a Jew -
"and continuing with those who attempted to reach the Land of Israel in spite of the British closure, those surviving splinters from the fires of the Holocaust who saw the Land from afar and who came straight to fight the War of Independence in Latrun - because they understood that we must continue to "fight G-d's war against Amalek" until the Kingdom of G-d, as manifest by the Kingdom of Israel, will arise and not fall again, and "the redeemer comes to Zion."

"This self-sacrifice stems from the source of greatness of spirit. It originates in a deep understanding of the unity between the People and the Land. The end result is that the more we hurt over those giants who are not with us, our perception and understanding of the value of the land also grows - and in this way, the road to Redemption is paved.

"On this day, when the entire nation and its various sectors unites in its pain and sorrow over the victims of terrorism and the fallen soldiers, let us all pray to G-d that He turn the coming days into days of happiness and joy, and that He wipe away the tears from every face."