Rabbi Seth Mandell, whose son was murdered by terrorists, talks about grief, the mourning process and why revenge is not the way.
I am sharing this piece for two reasons, neither of which is political. The first is a personal note. I had the pleasure of learning with Udi when I was studying in Yeshiva Shaarei Mevaseret Zion in 1998-99. Udi was a member of the Meretz Kollel that we shared the Beit Midrash with. I remember both him and his wife as warm and sweet people. It was with him that I first ventured into Nefesh HaHayyim, one of my favorite Seforim to learn. I am deeply saddened by their murder.
The second reason is that I found Seth Mandell’s words to the Jerusalem Post to be the most on target of all the responses so far. Granted, much out their is from anger, which I certainly feel as well. Yet, Mandell’s main point is that the family that is grieving will have tremendous difficulty in the coming years. The Fogel’s surviving children and parents will have to live with the loss in a way that all of us who are saddened cannot begin to understand. The most telling words came from Udi’s brother:
Udi’s brother Motti said: “All the slogans about Torah and settlement, the Land of Israel and the Jewish people try to make us fotget the simple and painful truth: You are gone. You are gone and no slogan will bring you back. Above all, this funeral must be a private event. Udi, you are not a symbol or a national event. Your life had a purpose of its own and your horrid death must not render life into a vehicle. You are my brother and shall remain my brother.” (20,000 attend Itamar Massacre victim’s funeral)
Rhetoric in grieving tragic losses often come from outsiders, while those on the inside have to mourn the loss of their own blood. It is the family that remains when life continues. My hope and prayer is that the Fogel family find solace in each other and look beyond the politics so that they can truly grieve their tragic loss.