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Can we comfort Sergeant Levy’s mother?

  • Rabbi Deren
No amount of downed Syrian jets on the northern border of Israel this week are any comfort to the family of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Sergeant Aviv Levy. He was killed on the southern border last Friday and laid to rest on Am Yisrael’s national day of mourning, Tisha B’Av, on Sunday.
by Rabbi Asher Deren, The Shul of Blouberg, West Coast | Jul 26, 2018

“There is no nechama – comfort” said President Ruvi Rivlin when visiting the grieving family during the Shiva call that he paid to them on Monday. “The entire nation is embracing you during this difficult time.”

So then, what are we to make of the message this week, being Shabbat Nachamu – reflecting the haunting words of comfort that Hashem tells the prophet in the Haftorah: “Nachamu nachamu, ami” (Comfort, oh comfort, my people”? Is there no comfort for the Levy family?

The question also arises from the heart of the Parsha itself (providentially read on Tisha B’Av as well), where we read the horrifying words of the tragedies that would yet befall us: “For you will not live long years on the land that I will give you…” It’s a prophecy striking far too close to home for Aviv’s parents. So, what is the Nachamu?

Perhaps, perhaps, their comfort lies in the knowledge that they are not alone in their quest for better times and prayers still unanswered;

The Parsha opens with Moshe begging and being denied the chance to see the land of Israel. He is perhaps the first casualty in our quest for settling the land with eternal peace.

Hashem still tells him “Nachamu nachamu” – a double comfort.

The first comfort is that while you, Moshe, won’t enter the land, your children will. True, it won’t be miraculous the way you would have done it. But each of them will play their vital role as partners, a role they wouldn’t have played had you done it all for them.

And they will settle the land. First Joshua, and the prophets, and then the kings, and the sages, and their students, and the young souls of the IDF, especially those who are the ultimate partners, investing their very lives in this endeavour.

But that’s only one comfort.

And the second comfort? That’s when you, Moshe, will come in to the land as well, for an eternal comfort, and you will settle the land forever.

We are on the threshold of this second comfort, the arrival of Moshiach and the ushering in of the final era of universal peace.

But that’s not good enough.

“I only want that my son should be the last one to fall,” Aviv’s tearful mother, Perla, told President Rivlin this week. And we owe that to her. We need Moshiach now.

Please take a moment to do that extra last mitzvah, the charity in money or spirit, the word of Torah, the good deed, and live a life a little closer to that vision of a world perfected and redeemed. May it be realised speedily in our days.

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