The Jewish and cinematic musings of the Rabbi of The Reform Temple of Rockland in Upper Nyack, New York.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Let us rejoice! After more than five years Gilad Shalit is finally home. Shalit was kidnapped while on patrol near the Gaza border by members of Hamas on June 25, 2006. Hamas denied any access to Shalit from aid organizations like the International Red Cross which was in stark violation of the Geneva convention.
Shalit's whereabouts were unknown for years and only occasionally would Hamas release scant proof that he was still alive. This included a DVD that Israel had to release twenty female prisoners in order to obtain a copy of it.
It now seems that Shalit was always intended to be a pawn. And it appears Hamas has achieved its goal of Israel releasing over 1,000 prisoners including convicted terrorists responsible for the deaths of many Israelis.
And yet, Shalit's return is not a defeat. Instead, as Miki Goldwasser wrote in an op-ed for Ynet, "Today is our victory day. The day where we decided that our values and our confidence in the righteousness of our way shall guide us. As long as there is no peace, and let us hope it arrives, our sons shall be serving the State with confidence. Mothers will again be able to entrust their children in the hands of worthy commanders." There are some in Israel who felt and feel the price is too high. And there is a compelling argument to be made. But that is the price we pay whenever we cherish life. We place the principle of Pikuach Nefesh, saving a life, above all of our other principles. It is part of what defines us as Jews. Today a life was saved. And all of Israel, and all the world can rejoice.
I don't know if this will help bring about peace to the rejoin so desperate for peace. But at least today, there is finally peace in the Shalit home, a home which up until today, was in mourning.
So let us rejoice, during this festival of rejoicing. Gilad Shalit is finally home!
Rabbi Sharff is the Senior Rabbi for The Reform Temple of Rockland in Upper Nyack, New York. He was raised in Houston, Texas where he discovered the acoustic and electric guitar while sitting in his dorm room one day. Rabbi Sharff graduated from the University of Texas and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati.
Rabbi Sharff is the rhythm guitarist for RTR's in House Band, and he also served as the editor for Howard Salmon's z"l Comic Book Siddur.