“May their memories be for a blessing.”
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.
In Vino Veritas says
Richard, it is the result of a leadership that has never been into battle, that has never fought in a war, that has never sacrificed anything.
Leaders who have been in war know the gravity of the sacrifice they will ask of their soldiers. As such, they damn well make sure that if the men in their charge should die, that they died for a reason no one could ever doubt.
What we have now are a band of cowboys whose only war experience has come from simulations and games. To them, the death of a soldier is an abstract thing, nothing to worry one’s pretty mind about. It is the return of feudalism: the aristocracy sends its serfs to fight its battles. It was never meant to happen in this country.
Something very similar which I have heard said on hearing of someone’s death is: Baruch Dayan Haemet (Blessed is the True Judge). I’ve never heard of the phrase that you mention, though that is part of the beauty of our rich tradition-you hear a new slant on things every day.
Richard Silverstein says
Colin: You are of course right & that was the phrase I was thinking of…not only did I mistranslate the phrase, but I got it confused with a statement by Menachem Mendel of Kotsk. I’ve since corrected the text. Thanks for pointing out my error to me (or at least sparking my brain to realize its mistake).