I have just finished watching a wonderful video on You Tube depicting a young family in their living room – a father and a mother with their young children, having some fun together.
The oldest boy is building some blocks of bricks and the tower has grown so tall that the father has to pick him up on his shoulders to place the bricks on the very top. The music starts and the father picks up his four year old son on his shoulders and dances around the room. In the meantime the tower of bricks topples on the floor to the squeals and delight of everyone present.
You smile with them because it is a story of normal family life. We smile and have fun with the everyday. And that’s part of living. It’s the normality of the everyday from which one finds delight that makes this very video so special.
Today, five of the family featured on that video, taken only a few months ago are dead, murdered at the hands of some sick terrorist.
I think it was Dostoevsky who said that all the philosophers in the world cannot justify the death of one single innocent child.
It is with these words in mind that I approach the latest tragedy from Israel, the wiping out, the eradication of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar.
No words can describe the feeling of sadness and loss.
Members of the family had requested that the photos of the massacre be placed on the internet, so that people could be able to see the full extent and horror of the tragedy. Out of curiosity I looked, having been sent the pictures on FaceBook. The photos depicted a father with his little three month old baby stabbed to death. Another picture gets close to the four year old boy, blood strewn everywhere. The child’s face focussed out, and another picture of his older brother lying in a pool of blood.
I decided not to place a link to these pictures here. I disagree with their being put on the internet to begin with. The internet, Facebook is a public space. Children could have access just by clicking on the wrong link. People faint of heart will be distressed to look at these photos. But another thing, despite the fact that the family and the Israeli government have said that they give their permission- it’s wrong from an ethical and Halachic perspective to view the dead.
Rather, from a Jewish view, we ought to remember this wonderful family from the way in which they lived their lives.
Let their memory be a blessing.