In response to a question about our future plans for homeschooling, I was planning to post about that today. But tonight marks such a horrific event that happened one week ago in Israel, that to write about anything else is to minimize by omission the terrible evil that was perpetuated.
Some of you don’t know what I’m talking about – I myself couldn’t bring myself to read the news reports when I first learned about the Itamar massacre. On this past Shabbos night (late Friday evening), terrorists broke into the home of an Israeli family. They slaughtered the father, a tiny infant (3 mo), a 4 year old, and an eleven year old in their beds. They stabbed the mother to death in the hallway; apparently she tried to shoot them but died in the struggle.
Thank G-d three of their children were spared – two boys, asleep in a different part of the house and unnoticed by the terrorists, and one girl, who was out with friends. The sheer horror of the murders is overwhelming, but to think of the 2 year old child finding his dead parents and trying to get them to wake up was heartbreaking. And the 12 year old daughter, returning from a late night Shabbos group with friends, coming into her home alone and finding her family brutally killed – I can’t even imagine the trauma.
The news media consistently portrays terrorists with sympathy and understanding – and in the wake of this atrocity, are oddly silent. This event has hardly received any notice in the media. Imagine if the scene were reversed – the international outrage would go on for months, it would be splashed across the cover of every newspaper and magazine, it would be a headline on television and radio news. It would be used to justify retaliation killings all over the world.
I’m grateful to Glenn Beck for sharing with his viewers about this terrible event – we in America need to understand what the face of evil looks like, and realize this isn’t an isolated event, that this kind of action is actively encouraged and supported by a large percentage of the Muslim world.
But we need to go beyond that to find what we can learn from this situation. In this case, the lesson to be learned comes directly from the father of Ruth Fogel, the 35 year old mother who was killed – a message of faith. This link is to a YouTube video; for those who can’t access the video, part of the interview with Ruth’s father was translated, and in which he basically said, as an educator it’s been his job to teach people about faith, and now it’s his test to live by what he’s taught for all these years.
And what about the 12 year old daughter? Tamar Fogel, the 12 year old who came home and found the grisly murder scene in her home – see what she has to say here. Again, for those who can’t see the video – a translation of her saying, “I will be strong and succeed in overcoming this. I understand the task that stands before me, and I will be a mother to my siblings.” (Her remaining living siblings are her 2 year old and 6 year old brothers.) For those who understand Hebrew, here is an interview with some other comments by Tamar. (“This entire situation, and all that is happening to the Jewish people – this won’t break us. We will continue to live here. This is what they (the terrorists) were trying to do, to break us. And they won’t succeed.” )
Can you imagine the chinuch (education) she received in her home to be able to say something like this? What amazing people her parents must have been. I was moved to tears to by both this young girl and her grandfather. This is when you really see what people are about -the murderers and their people, dancing in the streets and celebrating the slaughter of innocents- and the Jewish people, strengthening their faith and encouraging one another to come closer to G-d and strive to be their higher selves.
Mi k’amcha yisroel – who is like Your people, Israel.
May the merit of this beautiful family be a catalyst for good things for the Jewish people and entire world. Have a beautiful Shabbos.