MAILBAG: I’m Sorry, But You’re Completely Wrong About The Hostage Signs

I came across an article today posted on your Whatsapp Status, “MAILBAG: If You’re Putting Up Hostage Signs In Lakewood, Please Stop.”
This article greatly disturbed me, for several reasons. The concerned teacher first notes that there is seemingly “nothing to gain” from the posters of the kidnapped. She further adds that we are all on the same page about the kidnapped, that they need to come home. It is here that we already have a contradiction. No, we are not all on the same page about the kidnapped. Yes, we all want them home. But this article shows just how far away some of us are from the reality of what is happening.

As is human nature, when exposed to anything, trauma or not, severe or mild, overtime we become desensitized. The further we get from the initial danger/fear/worry/anxiety/stress, the less we relate and the less we carry it with us daily. With each second, minute, hour, day, etc., that goes by, we lose the same feeling we had when this all first happened. As Jews, we don’t just help one another, we feel for one another. We ARE a family.

We know from Chazal that Shevet Levi wasn’t subjugated and enslaved the way the other shevatim were. While their brothers and sisters suffered, they had to watch from the side. Yet, if you look at the various children of the shevatim, you’ll notice something fascinating. Levi named his sons Gershon, Kehas and Merari. The Shlah HaKadosh zy”a writes that each of these names is a reference to the pain the yidden suffered in Egypt. Gershon – ki ger yihyeh zarecha.” Kehas – “shineihem keihos.” Merari – “vayimariru es chayeihem.” Levi didn’t want his sons to grow up simply davening and learning and being aware that their brothers and sisters were suffering. He wanted them to live with that reality, that terrible reality that their family was experiencing, every single day of their lives. It wasn’t enough to merely daven and learn for them, they needed to feel for them as well. After all, Knesses Yisrael is one soul, one heart. When one limb, even the smallest of limbs, is in pain, it affects the whole body. When one letter in the Torah HeKedosha is smudged, the Torah is pasul.

Regarding what the kids in schools are going through being exposed to signs (as well as hearing things from others), I’m sorry your girls have to see those signs. I’m sorry that the reality we live in is one where it is scary to be a Jew, that we have to fight simply for others to allow us to defend ourselves. That we even have to fight to live. I’m sorry that a world and ideology we thought died after the murder of the kedoshim of the Holocaust is creeping up on us. I’m sorry that they may have to deal with the difficult reality of there being men, women and children held hostage by terrorists, but this is a reality that we all need to live with. Every. Single. Day. And not a day will go by that we won’t feel that pain until they are home. We need everyone to see, Jewish and non-Jewish, so that the children, the BABIES rachmana litzlan, and the other innocent men and women, our brothers and sisters, that are currently living through that gehinnom, aren’t alone.

May Hashem protect us, our soldiers, and watch over all those kidnapped and in danger.

With a heavy heart, eagerly awaiting the geulah shleimah and the salvation of the hostages and all klal yisrael,

A Concerned Jew

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  1. This comment,does not say one thing that makes sense.
    Why should the kids be traumatized?
    How to the signs help us feel more,we can get “used” to that too?
    How will it help if the Lakewood Mexicans feel bad for them,not that most of them would care.?

    • Didn’t read this article, but to everyone responding that this is not a good thing to have up-
      by having these signs up instills, the perspective, that us Jews living in a safe blessed community, are still striving for moshiach, and our brothers and sisters are still suffering. Any additional Torah, davening, chesed, Kabbalah, teshuva, etc the list goes on, can go miles.
      I wonder how the families of these kidnapped Jews would feel if there fellow brothers and sisters living comfortably afar, are wanting a billboard which is just a slight glimpse of the atrocity which took place, to not be up and have at least an ounce of justification, u might not agree with everything that they stand for, nor there country, but there’s a deeper meaning here, every individual jew is something so special, and once we unite and realize we are one mishoach will be here.
      Be well, stay safe.

  2. Well said!!! Hope that teacher ain’t teaching my kids. I thought her letter was totally out of touch and insensitive to the families of the hostages. Should we live here in Lakewood comfortable making believe nothing is happening in the other side of the world that would be a tragedy in itself!

  3. It won’t help our kids to see the pictures at that age. As for the teens and adults, they know good and well what is going on, especially those who are getting constantly updated via social media and news sites. The world in general needs constant reminders, but in our community our achdus can be felt through the various Atzeres Tifillos constantly arranged as well as the drashos being given by our Rabbanim. We will not stop feeling for them and davening, but our children who are too young to realize that (as the letter writer wrote) this is not a threat to us here (and IY”H will never be) there is no reason for young kids to be scared that the kidnappers are after them and may come after them any day.

    • “This is not a threat to us here.”

      We said that in Egypt, Babylonia, Rome, France, Spain, Poland, etc. Are you serious? This is whole comment perfectly shows the major disconnect between many Jews in Lakewood and reality. It very much is a threat to all Jews everywhere. Pretending it isn’t has only led to suffering. You only need look at the last 2000+ years of repeated expulsion, persecution, and murder.

  4. Thank goodness you answered I have been try to recall that letter and were I saw it. So thank you. I think that we all forgot who we are. A refresher. We are the children of Hakodesh Baruch. The only king which is real. We have but one Avino Malkeinu. No one else. He loves the prayer of children. What a wonderful opportunity to teach our children that their prayers matter. What a wonderful opportunity to teach our children to trust on our Avino Malkeinu for our protection. For the naive yid who is growing in a bubble. We are in danger. Mortal danger. Right now and every day. His protection is what keeps us safe. The beautiful faces of the children who were kidnapped should bring empathy into our eyes pain into our heart. They belong to us. They are missing is it it time to pick up the tehillim and cry Is it it time to ask our young children to help because they are our most powerful army. A pure heart reaching out to Hakodesh Baruch with prayers is our most powerful missile to pierce the heavens for help. Don’t make them close their eyes and be afraid arm them and yourself with the knowledge that our Avino Malkeinu will rescue us all but we have to ask in prayer. And if you can’t read Hebrew do it in your own language a fathers heart knows the tears of his child. He will answer but we have to ask. Don’t ignore the signs put them in. Your heart and daven. Your prayer maybe the one to pierce the heavens especially if joined to the prayers of our children. May our Father and King rescue us from the darkness and the suffering. May he bring all of our loved ones home. May he bring Moshiac with kindness.

  5. You are absolutely right that the Tefillos of children are incredibly powerful. But there are simpler ways of evoking those tefillos without traumatizing the children. Parents and teachers can explain to children what is going on and what they can do to help (i.e. daven). We need their tefillos but we do not need the ones saying the tefillos to also need therapy alongside it.

  6. You took words completely out of context. I said that IY”H it won’t happen to us here. In America we are not currently embroiled in war but yes it may happen R”L, but that is not the point. Right now there is no point in showing faces with the words “KIDNAPPED” all over town as the words are what the kids see. Many kids in general are scared that every stranger is a kidnapper. (it’s good that way so they stay away from harm C”V) but to have them see signs with dozens of pictures including many kids kidnapped just serves to freak them out completely overboard.


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