Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Cost

We have lost 27 souls, last I read. 27 boys and men who should be planning their future, or in the case of a few them, men who should be going to work at a "normal" job and coming home to their wives and kids. People are starting to ask if we're paying too high a price.

Ask the soldiers. I think - and I don't know for sure - they would say they belong right where they are. In six years, we're on our third incursion into Gaza. Each time, we lose precious lives. Each time, there is a high toll in Gaza, as well.

Meanwhile, for the last nearly 10 years, rockets have fallen regularly on Israeli communities in the south. An entire generation is growing up with PTSD. An entire generation from multiple communities will be suffering the lasting effects of trauma for their entire lives.

What price is too high? A soldier who is trained, prepared for battle, properly (we hope!) equipped - is his life more valuable than the young adult who can't function, who can't concentrate, who starts at every noise? Or do we say, at least they're alive? Having three separate people in my life who suffered from PTSD who chose to end their lives at the end of gun, I wonder. They chose death over living with such severe trauma.

Any life lost - ours or theirs - is too much. But sometimes the price we have to pay in order to have a future is so high, we can't even comprehend it. We can't wrap our heads around it.

Avraham was willing to sacrifice his son for what he believed in. It is too great a thing to ask, and yet the question came anyway.

Are we willing to sacrifice our sons for what we believe in - the safety of our people, the security of our nation? I think we would not be like Avraham and we would say no, but the question is not ours to answer, it is our sons' and daughters'. And from what I've seen, I suspect their answer would be the same is Yitzchak's - lead me to the altar and pray Hashem stays the hand that wields the blade.

I am heartbroken with every report I hear, with every grieving parent, spouse, child, sibling, friend, I hear about. And I am forever grateful to be protected by those who go to battle for me.

And please God, may this time be the last time we have to ask our children to sacrifice for us.