Prayers of the General Public Take Precedence

Gilad Shalit

With extreme irresponsibility, various people are exerting public pressure “to free Gilad at any cost,” or in other words, at the cost of releasing numerous terrorists with blood on their hands. I don’t want to blame Gilad’s family, for “one is not to be made responsible for his words at a time when he is afflicted.” However, concerning all the other people – they definitely can be blamed.

If, God forbid, terrorists are released, and consequently, as can be expected, many Jews are killed, all those people who exerted pressure, together with the members of government who decide on the issue, will not be able to say “our hands have not spilled this blood.”  They will be part of it. The media is especially to be blamed, for in a terribly irresponsible way, they support the release of terrorists, without informing the public about the awesome danger it entails. And when the disasters happen, God forbid, they will claim that the “public wanted” the release of Gilad at any cost.

Demands can be made for harsher jail conditions for the terrorists, or that the government initiates a military operation for his release – such as the one in Entebbe. However, the demand to release terrorists is totally irresponsible. It will lead to bloodshed, strengthen the terrorist organizations, and severely harm the status of the State of Israel – which also leads to bloodshed.

The release of Gild from his captivity does not insure his safety until the age of 120. A person can be killed in an accident or die from an illness. For example, there was once a young woman who planned to be a counselor in a camp in one of the communities in the Shomron. At the last minute, her parents, who were worried about the dangers of a terrorist attack on the roads to the Shomron, vetoed her plans. Two days later she was killed in a car accident.

Individual Prayers vs. Public Needs

On Yom Kippur, when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, he would utter a short prayer, asking for rain and livelihood, that pregnant woman give birth safely, and on the agriculture. He would implore God, saying: “Do not pay attention to the prayers of the travelers on the roads concerning rain when the world needs it.” This aroused amazement: at such a holy moment, this is what the High Priest has to say? But, indeed, it is a great danger when the distress of the individual overcomes the needs of the general public. When a person is in distress, he cries out to God from the depths of his heart. However, when the nation needs rain, people pray weakly, and in the end comes a drought followed by famine and harsh deaths. Therefore, the High Priest needed to pray that God hear the prayers of the general public, in spite of its weakness, and not hear the prayers of the individual traveler who cried from his heart over something inappropriate.

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