A Heartbreaking Story


shalit2By Shlomo Artzi

This is a heart-breaking story about one family that waited the whole week, along with the entire nation, for one kid to return home.
This entire week, and in previous weeks, we allowed the government to be vague and hide behind smoke screens while telling us about Hamas’ scary lists; we assumed that they know what they’re doing.For a whole week, we naively sang songs for Gilad, published articles for his sake and for the sake of our tortured conscience, and attempted to decipher the “ethical code” of that IDF, which brings captives back at any price.

We were willing to scream out “help me” on Gilad’s behalf. We did it everywhere, and spoke about it everywhere. At our homes, at the cold protest tent in Yerushalayim, and at work.

This is a heart-breaking story. Perhaps we have never felt what Gilad feels after living at some tunnel or basement for three years, at the mercy of his guards, without knowing what is happening to him. Still, we sympathized with him as much as we could.

This is a heart-breaking story. We never knew whether he hears us and whether he even has any idea that we so badly want him back home.

This is a story about a heart filled with sorrow as we watch the Shalit family, because we still remember the screw-up over missing airman Ron Arad. Neither blue balloons nor songs were able to return him home.

Many people I spoke with are asking questions such as this: Why didn’t we conduct ourselves like our worst enemies? Why do security prisoners enjoy relatively normal conditions around here? Why didn’t we use their weapons and their blunt rules, declaring that there are no more visits or information being provided about their prisoners?

Why didn’t we bring him back during the war we recently embarked on? Couldn’t we have set tougher rules? Someone at the top failed to utilize the right moment when it was possible to do so, or wasted time, or didn’t quite know what needs to be done at the right moment. Someone at the top may have done plenty, but not enough. The fact is that they failed to finalize a deal.

They will likely say: “We did everything.” But what does “everything” mean?

This is a heart-breaking story because Gilad isn’t here even at the end of this critical week, several weeks before Pesach, the holiday of freedom. Yet even if we were unable to score a goal in the last minute this week, we shall not get off the playing field defeated and

We will continue to be with the Shalit family from afar and from up close. We shall press Binyamin Netanyahu and tell him, from the moment he is sworn in, not to let go. Don’t give Hamas a moment of rest and don’t leave one stone unturned for this kid; because a moment may come where it will all be too late.

This is a heart-breaking moment with no victors, because those who are willing to accept tough agreements, and those who are not, are all right in some way. After all, there are never cheap deals vis-à-vis our bitterest enemies, yet we have the strength to withstand any deal.

This is a heart-breaking story about an entire nation feeling that the Shalit kid is our kid too…until he returns home. And this is a heart-breaking story because he did not return yesterday.

{Ynet/Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Our hearts bled and cry together with the Shalit family and share their pain. Hamas will NEVER, once again will NEVER release a living Gilad under any circumstances. This evil/cruel/horrendous/spiteful/murderous entity which sends its own children out to be suicide killers has no respect/understanding of human life.

  2. There are Halachic guidelines of dealing with kidnappers, how much to pay to redeem, when you catch them-the punishment, etc.

  3. its unfortunate. lets hope the hamon am doesnt forget these new captives the way they have seemingly abandoned the ones missing for for decades.

  4. We need to press Obama and co. to make the $900 million in relief aid contingent on the release of Gilad. If you’re going to give nearly a billion dollars to a bunch of ruthless terrorists, money that Americans can use to offset the monetary troubles caused by the recession, a least let it do some good. We know they’re going to use it for missiles and weapons to use against Israel. If we can get Gilad back, then the billion dollars is worth it.

  5. we all are heart broken by this story, and as soon as he is released , we will sing praise to Hashem, but after a while it will wear off and all of our kabalos that we took upon ourselves to get gilad free will fade away. Then Hashem will send us another tzarah r5achmanah litzlan….. if we all stop speaking loshon horah, and the women dress tzeisdik, we hope that it will will be a zichus for the redemption of gillad. After gilad is released b’ezras hashem
    we cant just say Ok he was released lets go back to saying what we want and dressin how we like … we have to stick to our Kabalos an may that be a zichus for our final redemption bimharah biyameinu amen!!

  6. I have a bit of difficulty understanding why a chareidi website would post this opinion piece by Shlomo Artzi. While we are all davening and doing extra mitzvos l’zechus Gilad, part of what we must daven for is that the Israeli Gov’t will follow the Torah on this matter, and will resist the urge to follow their collective heart. For although the heart says to get Gilad back at any cost, and although the heart asks, “what would I be willing to do if chas v’sholom it was my son?”, nevertheless, the chiyuv is for us to follow the Torah and our Gedolim. Many of the Gedolim have spoken on this subject, and said it is absolutely assur to free the over 1,000 terrorists Hamas demands, which include over 250 murderers of yiddin. Their psak is based on the fact that over 80% of terrorists released by Israel in the past have returned to terror, which would mean potentially thousands of more yiddin killed by these terrorists if they were released, rachmana letzlan, and the fact that the Torah does not allow you to save a life at the expense of even one life, let alone thousands of other lives. And so while we daven and hope and feel anguish over Gilad’s plight, we still have no right to disregard our Torah and our Gedolim. While the author of this article is correct in saying that we must leave no stone unturned in our effort to save Gilad, we must, nevertheless, do so l’fi daas torah, and instead of lamenting, as the author does, the fact “that they failed to finalize a deal,” we should be thanking the ribbono shel olam that that they failed to finalize a deal, a deal that would have gone against da’as torah and led to the deaths of untold numbers of yiddin rachmana letzlan.