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Regarding Barel; regarding us

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Barel Shmueli was brought to rest last night after being mortally wounded. Over the past two weeks, while in the hospital, he taught us so much:

First of all, in the manner that he was attacked. The Gaza mob reached the border fence, within touching distance, and a terrorist shot Barel. If only the public outcry will make a difference, if only investigation of the incident will lead to changes in our engagement of the enemy, if only this will be the last tragic occurrence of its kind.

And afterwards, the solidarity on display. So many people who never met him brought the name "Barel ben Nitza" into their daily routine, in Israel and throughout the world. Hundreds of challahs were separated for his recovery, and numerous real and virtual hugs were given to his family. His face became one of the most viral images on the social networks, more than any celebrity's. When they announced that his condition had worsened, it was possible to feel not only how much this grieved his family, but the nation of Israel as well.

And the prayers, too. We are one month away from the Rosh HaShanah prayers that are the highest spiritual point of the year, but the selichot recited every night outside the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva broke every record for heartfelt communal prayer. The family made a request for prayers and night after night, at midnight, thousands (!) gathered there from all over Israel for selichot. "I was surprised not only by the quantity of people who came from the north," a woman told me, "but by the awesome strength of their feelings and concern, from the fact that so many people were simply sobbing for someone they did not know."

For the ascent of the soul of Barel ben Yosef and Nitza. "A year and its curses will end; a year and its blessings will begin."


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