The Murder of Rina and Maia HY”D and this Week’s Haftorah

The Murder of Rina and Maia HY”D and this Week’s Haftorah

On Friday, I heard the horrific news of the brutal murder of Maia (20) and Rina (16) Dee from Efrat while on a family Chol HaMoed trip in the Jordan Valley.

Maia was a seminary student at Midreshet Lindenbaum in Lod, and Rina was a 10th grader at Ulpanat Kiryat Arba. Their 48-year-old mother, Lucy (a teacher who runs a popular science and baking summer camp) is still hospitalized in critical condition, and urgently in need of our prayers.
The Dee family, who made aliya from the UK several years ago, was in my heart all this Shabbat: the mother fighting for her life, the father, Leo, who broke down in sobs when police officers at the site of terror attack showed him the identity cards of his murdered daughters HY”D.

And then this morning in shul, during the haftorah reading, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I even read over the haftorah twice to make sure I was reading it correctly.

Today’s haftorah reading, for Shabbat Chol HaMoed, is Ezekiel’s prophecy regarding the Valley of Dry Bones. This was so shocking to me because in Israel, the Jordan Valley, where this terror attack took place, is called HaBeeka, the Valley. And HaBeeka is exactly the word Ezekiel used in his prophecy 2600 years ago.

In other words, just hours after HaBeeka was filled by death and despair, Jews around the world were reading Ezekiel’s vision of HaBeeka filled with death and despair:

“The hand of the LORD came upon me. He took me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the Valley. It was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many of them spread over the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “O mortal, can these bones live again?” I replied, “O Lord GOD, only You know.” And He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! Thus said the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live again. I will lay sinews upon you, and cover you with flesh, and form skin over you. And I will put breath into you, and you shall live again. And you shall know that I am the LORD!”
I prophesied as I had been commanded. And while I was prophesying, suddenly there was a sound of rattling, and the bones came together, bone to matching bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had grown, and skin had formed over them; but there was no breath in them.
Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, O mortal! Say to the breath: Thus said the Lord GOD: Come, O breath, from the four winds, and breathe into these slain, that they may live again.” I prophesied as He commanded me. The breath entered them, and they came to life and stood up on their feet, a vast multitude.
And He said to me, “O mortal, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone; we are doomed. ’Prophesy, therefore, and say to them: Thus said the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves and lift you out of the graves, O My people, and bring you to the land of Israel. You shall know, O My people, that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and lifted you out of your graves.
I will put My breath into you and you shall live again, and I will set you upon your own soil.
Then you shall know that I the LORD have spoken and have acted”—declares the LORD.”

Ezekiels vision of the dry bones is a metaphor, Ezekiel says, for the Jewish people. Exiled from our Land, we are like dry bones, like a nation lying in a mass grave. But Hashem promises we will not remain in that grave for eternity.
Hashem promises to: “put My breath into you and you shall live again, and I will set you upon your own soil.”
The story of the Dee family, I believe, is the realization of Ezekiel’s promise from 2600 years ago. They put down roots in Israel, the country of a nation brought back to life after the Holocaust and 2 millennia of exile.
Maia and Rina were murdered because they were Jews, al Kiddush Hashem. They are gone, and this is an unfathomable tragedy. For the entire Jewish people, for their community, and for their grieving family, may Hashem comfort them and bring the mother an immediate and complete recovery.
But, as Hashem promised, the Jewish people, because of the Dee family and thousands of brave, idealistic families like them, who, despite the dangers and the enemies all around and wars and the terror attacks, choose to be part of the ongoing living prophecy that is the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. Just as Ezekiel and Hashem promised us. Am Yisrael Chai.

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