My friend Andrea is our guest blogger today. See end for Andrea’s bio.

What horrible news we had yesterday, about Eyal, Gilad and Naftali A”H, the boys murdered in Israel 18 days ago. As Jews and non-Jews everywhere reel from the news, I am starting to see the question pop up, on my Facebook feed,  in blog entries and on a bulletin board that I frequent: questioning what the point was to all that praying everyone did.

Now, I am not the biggest “pray-er.” I do take challah and pray for people on a regular basis, but I find that spontaneous prayer works better for me than reading psalms or formalized prayers.  In the time that the boys were missing, what I saw in news, on social media, and in communities everywhere, was an incredible number of people praying, doing mitzvot and reading psalms, in the merit of the return of the boys. I saw the people of Israel, and so many of our friends, coming together – unified by our desire to see the boys home safe.

In addition, many of us, if not all of us, recognized the unity that was sweeping across the world of Judaism and were impressed that three missing boys could cause such an incredible shift in the old adage “two Jews, three opinions.”  We had one opinion and it was very clearly “Bring them back home safe.”
While we now know that by the time people started davening for them, they were dead, I believe that those prayers were still heard.  It is because we cannot change what has already happened with prayer, and once a prayer is spoken it cannot be taken back, that I believe that those prayers were all heard. They were heard by the world, who saw that Jews were coming together and praying (not reacting in violence), they were heard by ourselves, as aforementioned, and most of all, by God.  If you don’t believe in God, then all that good karma was out there and is still coming back to us…
This past Thursday, my daughter was in an accident.  It was  a very serious situation and one which, if any one of ten different things had gone differently, I would be sitting shiva right now. In fact, it is miraculous that all ten of those things did not happen. After seeing the question “Why did we bother?”  I decided that all that davening, and all those mitzvot and all that ahavat yisrael acted  to make it possible that instead of a tragedy, in or family, we are dealing with “just” an accident, instead of a tragic one.
God heard our prayers.  God saw our achdut (unity) and all the amazing mitzvot done in the merit of the safe return of the boys.  I believe that because there was nothing else that could be done for them, all the incredible goodness that was generated by these prayers and actions, was redirected.
Some people may have survived car wrecks, chemo might have worked, or aerosol cans blew up and yet the injury was “just” like a bad sunburn. In addition, many people were praying for the safety of the members of the IDF who were looking for the boys, and the delay in the discovery of their bodies meant that the IDF had legitimate opportunity to discover the smuggling tunnels, weapons production locations and to confiscate whole arsenals that will not be used against Israel now.

A friend pointed out all of the above and that we will never know how many lives have been saved by removing those threats.

Do you know someone who suffered in the past 17 days from something that could have been much worse and wasn’t?  Do you know someone who walked away from something that should have killed them?  Maybe they, and by extension, you, we, klal yisrael were the beneficiaries of that good outcome precisely BECAUSE we all showed such achdut and we all prayed and did mitzvot!  This may not be the answer we wanted or expected but it is absolutely an answer!
So I, a Jewish mother who is NOT sitting shiva today, believe that your prayers and our achdut are the reason for that. Thank you!
Your prayers in the merit  of a speedy and complete recovery for Ariel Mia bat Chana Miriam very much appreciated. and it was very clearly “Bring them back.
Andrea Levy considers herself an “Under-Constructionist Jew.” Formerly a non-observant, mostly cultural Jew, Andrea and her family are very pleased to have grown in the direction of increased observance of mitzvot. She is married to Marc Schwartz and has two children, Max and Ariel. Collectively, the family is known as “The Schwevys.” Andrea owns a business providing Kosher Catering in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as working as a kosher supervisor for the Hamilton Va’ad Hakashrut. She is the lead volunteer for the Adas Israel Synagogue’s United Shabbat programme. Andrea enjoys post apocalyptic and dystopian books and loves all things Zombie and Vampire.