Friday, October 2, 2009

"Hello, This is Gilad."

I am lucky enough to be free. I am lucky enough to live in a part of the world where my religion and my lifestyle do not cause others to commit harm toward me on a daily basis. In Israel, perhaps I wouldn't be so lucky. HaShem knows that Gilad Shalit -- in captivity now for nearly 1,200 -- was not as lucky. Gilad is suffering for Jews the world over, for Israelis the world over, for humanity and the right to breathe.

Tonight begins Sukkot here where I live, and in Israel Jews are already observing Sukkot. We invite friends and family over, we sit in booths that we have built, and we eat food joyously with one another, laughing and singing and discussing the smaller things in life. And Gilad? He'll be sitting in captivity. But at least, baruch HaShem, we know he is still alive and with us. This Sukkot, this Sukkot will be about Gilad. And we know he's alive because Israel agreed to release dangerous Palestinian prisoners in exchange for this small look into Gilad's life, captured in early September. Is he still alive? We must hope so. We must know so.

This video, publicized today, had me in tears. I look at Gilad, reading from a script, looking up at the camera, and wonder what he must have been thinking when this was filmed. Knowing that the high holidays were coming. Knowing that Jews the world over were thinking -- and are thinking -- of him.

I don't know what the right answer is as far as getting Gilad back goes. I do know, however, that returning hundreds or thousands of violent criminals to Gaza and Hamas will not solve anything. But the famous adage for we Jews is that if you save one life, it is as if you've saved the world. And in suite, we must save Gilad.

Shabbat shalom v'chag sameach friends.