It is moments before the Sabbath comes here in Israel. My table is set with special dishes we use almost only on the Sabbath. Two loaves of sweet, braided bread are there, covered with a silk cloth decorated for the Sabbath. The candles (oil, actually) are ready to be lit. Elie and Aliza filled them a few hours ago – they used blue and purple this week and they are so beautiful.
The house is clean, the floors shining. In Israel, the floors are stone and so we wash them by doing “sponga” – which means dumping buckets of soapy water and giving it a great wash.
The food is all prepared; sitting on the warming trays for when we return from synagogue. I was about to do my last few things when something clicked into my mind and I calculated – I have three minutes left to write one simple thought…today, it is four years since Gilad was kidnapped. He is alone in Gaza…as alone as he was in those moments when his unit was attacked, his friends killed, and he alone was dragged off across the border into Gaza.
Does he know? Does he know it is four years…have his jailers tormented him with the date…with the same psychological torture they use against his family and Israel?
I don’t know the answer – I’ll spend the Shabbat thinking of him, praying for him – wishing him safe and home soon. Shabbat Shalom, Gilad – you have become the son of all of us and we are waiting for you. May you come home soon, may you know you are loved, and may you never doubt for a moment that you are in our hearts and minds always.