Funeral of Ofer F
Funeral of Ofer FChezki Baruch

The shocking murder of our four brothers at the entrance to Eli may no longer shock us. The intense terror attacks create a kind of repression response. Death is in our backyard. On the roads in Judea and Samaria, travelers are flooded with fear; but many make the excuse sighing "what else can be done?"

From a practical point of view, response is indeed the role of the government and operational echelons. But we can contribute to public pressure that will lead to a harsher and more correct response.

Psychologically speaking, this is the time to look at Chukat, the Torah portion that we will read this coming Shabbat. It [Chukat] deals entirely with death and crises – ritual impurity of those coming into contact with the deceased; the death of Miriam; the sin of Mei Meriva (the water of dispute where Moshe hit the rock); the death of Aharon; the plague of the fiery serpents. In life we encounter "chok", i.e., the limitations of reality; a head-on collision with a seemingly impassable wall: disasters, human evil; sins and passions; injuries, and foremost among them is death.

But it turns out that death can also be defeated! The commandment of the red heifer is to take the total power of life that a "massive cow", full of redness, "upon which a yoke was not placed" – and to sprinkle its ashes on one who was made impure by coming into contact with death. In other words: to add living flesh and blood in this world, to break the yoke of the bondage of death.

In a world where the image of "nechashim serafim", fiery serpents, gives the feeling that reality is managed by random "nechashim" [which in addition to "snakes" also means "guessing" in Hebrew] those "serafim", burn us from the inside – so that we look up to Heaven and overcome.

We will continue the lives of Elisha, Harel, Ofer and Nachman may their blood be avenged– by saying that "God will avenge their blood". And we will avenge their spilled blood by increasing Torah learning, prayer, settlement, family and life; that way the authorized authorities will carry out the death penalty on those who deserve it.

The bodies of Elisha, Harel, Ofer and Nachman are not with us; their souls are bound in the bond of life of all of us, and we will meet them in the end, in the place where everyone meets after death.

The bad will pass.

The good will prevail.

With God’s help