This is the traditional Jewish phrase spoken when one refers to someone who has died and it’s certainly apt here. We honor these men and women and the choice they made to serve their country. We only wish that our leaders would’ve honored them by not sending them to their deaths in such a tragic and senseless enterprise.
As I looked at this page in today’s newspaper all I could think of was the brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children and wives left behind. Think of all that cumulative suffering endured by tens or hundreds of thousands whose lives were blessed by these souls. Now, the hole left by their deaths can never be filled. Such a tragic waste!
In a moment of deep despair, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk once said: Layt din v’layt dayan (“there is no judge and no justice”). One has the sense regarding these war dead that they sent to die by a leader who lost all sense of judgment and moral bearings.
Here is a link to the New York Times graphic display of the Iraq War dead.