Something has been bothering me for a very long time now. A 'very long time' is a relative term since a long time could be anywhere from thousands of years, several years to a few hours or minutes etc., depending on the context. But if you're a young soldier serving your mandatory army service and are violently taken hostage against your will, even one second is far too long. And for that boy's parents, family and friends, 'a very long time' becomes a never ending nightmare. It doesn't take much to guess that I am referring to Gilad Shalit and all of our missing soldiers; Ron Arad, Guy Hever, Zvi Feldman, Yehuda Katz and Zachariya Baumol, may they all be well.
We have recently seen proof that Gilad ben Aviva is still alive, thank G-d. Anyone with a heart must feel as I do whenever I think of him languishing in some cold, dark, damp cement room, all alone with no one but his captors to revive his spirits. When I get chilly at night I think of him, and cry, and wonder if he has blankets to keep him warm. During Yom Kippur yesterday, our Day of Atonement, I contemplated whether or not he even realized what day it was. Would he be allowed to practice his own religious rituals? Surely not. As we are all aware, against International Law, he has been denied the basic human right of being allowed a humanitarian visit by the Red Cross, or any other neutral organization for that matter (not that the Red Cross is neutral). I know I am not alone as I pray daily for his spiritual, physical and emotional health and for his immediate return home.
As long as he remains imprisoned, it is incumbent upon us, those who are free to come and go as we please, free to speak our minds, to do everything in our power to ensure that he is released. Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world - Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:8 (37a)
Something just doesn't make sense to me and it is time to put it on the table, so to speak. The Israeli Army has amazing intelligence. They pretty much know where many wanted terrorists are at any given moment. They are able to use precision strikes to blow up desired targets without hurting civilians. They can go to foreign countries and successfully put a 'hit' on dangerous enemies. But they don't know where one little, suffering, lone soldier is being held? I just don't buy that. It is impossible that no one knows where Gilad is being kept. So why aren't they getting him out? His parents must have asked this question more times than I. Are those who are at the helm of the army afraid of the consequences? That has never been a deterrent in the past. Which leaves me with just one conclusion; G-d has some major plan of His own. Since HaShem is in control of everything, He is obviously directing this as well. Nothing makes sense and everything is upside down. This is the world experiencing the birth pangs of Moshiach and I feel like Gilad Shalit is in the center of it. He could very well, G-d willing, soon be part of his own rebirth, as the head of the storm of Redemption crowns into a new dawn.
In the meantime, as we wait with anticipation, we must all join together to beseech HaShem to protect Gilad, watch over him and guard him from harm. And may he, all the missing soldiers, Jonathan Pollard and all of our People soon be united in Peace and Joy in the service of HaShem at the newly rebuilt Beit Hamikdosh.