By Rabbi Yitzchok Hisiger
Today, some of our hearts skipped a beat.
If you were one of those who heard that two boys in Lakewood, NJ, had gone missing, you stopped what you were doing. You hoped silently, praying fervently, that it would just end well.
And then you thought of the unthinkable.
If you were like me, you thought of a boy named Leiby. And you shuddered.
Every minute was excruciating. You waited for some good news.
Five minutes. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes.
Police. Chaveirim. Whoever. The search was on. It was frantic.
And then the pictures appeared, making it as real as one can imagine. Two beautiful faces, two precious Yiddishe boys. And your heart skipped a beat once again.
Where were they? Why hadn’t they gotten on their bus? Where could they have gone? Or, more frighteningly, who could have taken them away?
And then you, like me, thought of your loved ones. Your parents, your spouse, your kids, your siblings. Suddenly, your heart softened. You promised to yourself, as I did, that as soon as you’d get home this evening, you’d hug each child for as long as possible. And you’d tell them how much you love them. And you’d watch them much more carefully, especially tomorrow morning at the bus.
And then you snapped out of your reverie, staring, once again, at the images on your phone of the two sweet little boys from Lakewood who were nowhere to be found.
Oh, the pain! Oh, the torment!
It was impossible to do anything productive. We needed to know, and we needed to know right away: Where are those two boys? Where are our two boys?
After what seemed like an eternity, phones started buzzing. They were found! Boruch Hashem. Wow. What a relief. Thank You, Hashem. We could not have handled a tragedy. It would have been too much. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.
And then we went back to our routine.
But wait a second. Don’t just let it go.
Don’t lose that feeling just yet.
Don’t forget how vulnerable we all felt during that hour or so. Don’t forget how the priorities of life seemed so clear during that period.
Don’t let this experience go to waste.
Just as you and I did during that hour, think once again about your loved ones – your parents, your spouse, your kids, your siblings, your grandparents, your nieces and nephews, your extended family – and your friends and co-workers.
And just as you and I promised to do, as soon as you get home, hug each child for as long as possible. And tell them how much you love them. And watch them much more carefully, especially tomorrow morning at the bus.
Hashem granted us a yeshuah. We are so grateful!
He allowed us to be reminded of what’s important without having to experience the pain.
He gave us a priceless opportunity to appreciate what we have without having to undergo suffering to do so.
Thank Him for that.
And then go and tell your loved ones and those who fill your life with meaning that they mean the world to you.
Rabbi Yitzchok Hisiger is the author of Food for Thought and executive editor of Yated Ne’eman.