The past 16 days in our little country were 16 days like no other that I can remember.
For 16 days our entire country was united in prayer - there was no religious or secular, no right-wing or left-wing just a nation united in prayer, in hope, and in worry.
A nation glued to the news, hoping to hear the news that was never to come.
A nation that constantly had the the words בשרות טובות on our lips - a wish for good news that was never to come.
A nation that always had the names and images of the three boys on their lips, always wondering where were our boys, Naftali, Gil-ad, and Elad (הי"ד). A nation that spent a few extra minutes hugging their children before they set out in the morning and when they came home safely at the end of the day.
And then, on the 17th day, while the country was celebrating the end of the school year and start of Summer vacation, our small nation was shattered with the news that we all feared would come, but had tried to put out of our mind - that our three young boys will never come home from school, their plans for the Summer vacation, and for next year and beyond will never come to pass.
My youngest son is Amichai, - עמי-חי - My nation lives. He is 5 years old.
Tonight as I put Amichai to bed he looked at me and asked if it was true that our three boys were now in גן עדן - in the Garden of Eden? He stopped and thought about what he had just said, and then asked with a child's innocence - "does this mean that they will never grow old"?
Before going to sleep, he insisted on saying another chapter of Psalms - I said to him that we no longer need to say Psalms to bring the boys home - "I know" he said, "but can we say Psalms anyway for the boys' mothers, so that they know that we are still thinking of them and they won't be sad". So together Amichai and I recited Psalms 130 - שיר המעלות ממעמקים קראתיך ה - "A song of Ascent - out of the depths have I cried to You HaShem", words that even a child of 5 has said so many times over the past 2 weeks that he knew them by heart.
Master of the Universe - Your children have cried enough, please now is the time to wipe away our tears.....
המקום ינחם אתנו בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים ולא תוסיפו לדאבה עוד