We know how precious every single soldier in Israel is.
I was reading an “analysis” of theGazawar.
In the middle of trying to asses the success of the mission?
The commentator said something amazing.
Something very Jewish.
He said, “We should remember what makes a war a “failure” inIsrael…
The death of the first soldier!”
At times like this all Israelis know that we are one big family.
But as much as that’s true?
No one can begin to imagine the heartbreak and pain of parents who lose a son in battle.
How their life is shattered.
… There are stories and there are stories.
This is a story that shows greatness.
And a story that I think should affect our lives.
It’s about Reuven and Sarah Stern.
Their youngest son, Nitai, was killed in Gaza.
And adding to the tragedy?
Nitai was killed by what’s called “friendly fire”. By mistaken IDF tank fire.
But despite their grief, they did something amazing.
President Shimon Peres paid a shiva (condolence) call at their home.
And the Sterns asked him for a favor.
“When you visit the troops?
Please give a big hug to the tank corps soldiers who fired on Nitai by mistake.
Explain that we have no anger, no bitterness.”
And here’s what Nitai’s mother Sarah said.
“There is no war without such incidents. They occur.
We have a responsibility and privilege to embrace them.
To not allow them to become depressed and to live with guilt.
We lost a son and I don’t want another mother to lose a child to sorrow or despair.”
… There’s an old Yiddish expression.
“We all have our own “pekel”. Our own load. Our own burdens.
It’s easy to get absorbed in our own challenges.
And to lose sight of the pain of others.
We hope and pray that we never have a burden like Reuven and Sarah Stern have.
And that we never need to give the kind of hug that they gave.
But we should be inspired by them!
Because we all know people who need a “hug”.
Sometimes they may literally need a hug.
And then there are figurative hugs.
Like a pat on the back. A big smile. Taking time from a busy day to listen.
Or a quick phone call just to say, “I’m thinking of you!”
… We should think of Nitai Stern’s parents and give the hug!