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Captive Sons

Aharon Granot

Nearly two weeks after Hamas terrorists kidnapped three yeshivah boys on their way home for Shabbos, families, roshei yeshivah, classmates, and friends of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach cling to faith and trust.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The lights in the beis medrash of Yeshivat Shavei Chevron in the City of the Patriarchs generally get switched off long past midnight. But for the last week, those lights have been on round-the-clock. “We are completely out of routine,” says Rosh Yeshivah Rav Channanel Etrog. “Now, when we need extra zechuyot, the bochurim have undertaken shifts to learn throughout the day and night.”Someone leads me to Eyal’s seat in the beis medrash. On the table, under his Gemara, are two notes he wrote to himself shortly before leaving for that ill-fated journey to — where? The first note is a detailed list of steps to take in order to work on his middos. Nineteen-year-old Eyal wrote to strengthen himself in “humility, modesty, and derech eretz.” The second note is an outline of masechtos he wanted to study both in depth and for bekius in the coming year, as well as a list of sifrei emunah and mussar he wanted to learn.“We weren’t surprised when we found these notes,” his friends relate. “That’s Eyal.” They try not to speak about him in the past tense. “He’s serious in everything he does, and when he made the decision to continue learning in yeshivah gedolah, he did it all the way.”I go down to his room. On the door, his friends have hung a sign announcing that they are waiting for his return. “We’re sure he’ll be back. It makes no difference what the IDF and the intelligence experts say. We are confident that Eyal will be back at his seat and will fulfill his plans. It has to happen. Eyal is infused with the strong ‘Chevron spirit’ that we’ve all inherited from the Patriarchs. We will do what we have to do — to increase zechuyot by learning more Torah, and the IDF will do what it has to do, and with all this effort, he’ll return home safely.” 

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