My Friend, Racheli, the Hostage’s Mother
You’ve probably heard by now that 3 Israeli teenagers were kidnapped this past Thursday by Hamas terrorists.
One of those boys, Naftali Frankel, is the son of my friend Racheli Sprecher Frankel who is my husband’s coworker at Nishmat, the women’s yeshiva where they both teach.
Racheli is one of the most impressive people I know. She is a devoted mother to her 7 children (Naftali is their second) who is also very passionate about learning and teaching Torah to women.
Look at her photo, and look at that smile. That’s Racheli. Her laughter, her enthusiasm for life, her strength.
Last year at a Nishmat shabbaton Racheli shared a story with me about her mother’s mother, Rebbetzin Chaya Hinda Rokach.
Rebbetzin Chaya Hinda’s husband established a Chassidic shul in Boro Park, Brooklyn, and after he passed away, Rebbetzin Rokach singlehandedly maintained it for many years until not long before she passed away herself at the age of 103. She was known in her community as a holy woman, and many women would come to her to receive her blessings.
But the most famous blessing she ever gave was not to a woman at all. That blessing was given to a man named Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokach, the current Belzer Rebbe shlit”a. When the Rebbe visited New York City years ago, even though it is difficult for him to climb stairs, he climbed to the third floor of her elevator-less building especially to receive a blessing from his distant and esteemed cousin.
The Rebbetzin’s daughter, Racheli’s mother, made aliya to Israel soon after she married during the 1950s, decades before Americans started making aliya in large numbers. Decades before Nefesh b’Nefesh and Ramat Beit Shemesh and AACI they were pioneers who believed with all their hearts in the importance of building the newborn State of Israel with their own hands. With idealism, mesirut nefesh and iron-willed determination.
I have no doubt that Rebbetzin Chaya Hinda zt”l is crying today at the Throne of Glory for her great-grandson’s release, and her pleas are being joined by thousands of prayers and chapters of Psalms being said by his parents and grandparents and family and friends and others from all over Israel and the world.
May we soon see Naftali, and the other two hostages, at home with their families that are yearning so terribly for their safe return.
Please continue praying for the safety and immediate release of:
Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devora
Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim
Eyal ben Iris T’shora