By attending this solidarity rally, we have fulfilled a mitzvah, a sacred act, a Divine commandment prescribed by our holy Torah. The specific Mitzvah that I believe we are fulfilling here is in Parshat Ki Teitzei, Deuteronomy Chapter 22. There it describes a situation in which a fellow Jew is in need of help. The Torah charges us: Hakeim Takim Imo. Help your fellow man. But help him or her in a comprehensive manner. Within these three short Hebrew words are two related yet distinct responsibilities. First Hakeim- alleviate their suffering, rectify the situation by providing material support and concrete steps to fix what is broken.
And also Takim Imo: stand up in solidarity with those who are in need, provide spiritual sustenance for those in trouble and their loved ones.
One of the most important concrete steps we can undertake is to raise awareness and keep the attention of the world on the plight of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. The news cycle is very fast, and it’s already moving on to new stories. But we won’t move on, we can’t move on, until the boys are returned because this story is about our family. Our efforts here must be supplemented by letters to the editor, social media campaigns, reaching out to elected officials- whatever we can do to increase the awareness of this terribly unjust situation.
But the we must Takim Imo: our provision of spiritual sustenance to the three boys and their families must not end with today’s rally. Jewish tradition teaches us that good deeds performed on behalf of someone in trouble is a way to alleviate their predicament. Therefore let us react to these kidnappings with an increase in kindness. Let us respond to this terrorism with enhanced Torah study. Let our response to these provocations find expression in our intensified prayers. May our steps to stand – and act -in solidarity create the merit that Brings Our Boys home swiftly and Safely. And May our efforts create a better world, one from which we can continue to benefit, long after the Boys’ safe return. At my synagogue, the Young Israel of Hollywood – Ft. Lauderdale, these last 3 weeks since the boys were kidnapped, we have added Psalm 130 to our Shabbat evening prayers specifically on behalf of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali. After the Pslam we recite the following short prayer, with which I’d like to conclude:
אַחֵינוּ כָּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, הַנְּתוּנִים בְּצָרָה וּבַשִּׁבְיָה, הָעוֹמְדִים בֵּין בַּיָּם וּבֵין בַּיַּבָּשָׁה, הַמָּקוֹם יְרַחֵם עֲלֵיהֶם, וְיוֹצִיאֵם מִצָּרָה לִרְוָחָה, וּמֵאֲפֵלָה לְאוֹרָה, וּמִשִּׁעְבּוּד לִגְאֻלָּה, הַשְׁתָּא בַּעֲגָלָא וּבִזְמַן קָרִיב.
“Our brothers, the entire family of Israel who are delivered into distress and captivity, whether they are on these shores or across the ocean- may the Omnipresent One have mercy on them, and remove them from distress to relief, from darkness to light, from subjugation to redemption, now, speedily and soon and let us say Amen.