Gilad Shalit was released today from 5+ years in captivity, held by Hamas. It is a day filled with much raw emotion and clouded joy as the Shalit family is reunited after the incredibly long wait.
What does one say upon such a momentous reunification?
A midrash teaches that when Yakov/Jacob reunited with his son, Yosef/Joseph, whom he hadn’t seen for 22 years, he recited a bracha – perhaps two. The Talmud in Brachot discusses when to recite Shehecheyanu and when we recite M’chayeh metim.
Baruch atah m’chayeh metim… blessed are you who revives the dead. (Brachot 58b)
Today is the 6th day of Sukkot 5772. On each day we’ve invited a guest (ushpiz (pl:ushpizin) into our sukkah. Today’s guest, according to the Sephardic tradition, is Yosef HaTzaddik. In the merit of Yosef HaTzaddik and Yakov Avinu, and in the merit of all the goodness in our world, we welcome Gilad Shalit back to life.
Today’s guest, according to the Ashkenaz tradition, is Aaron the High Priest. The famous words attributed to Aaron, after his sons were consumed by fire, on a day that should have been filled only with rejoicing and celebration are va-yidom Aharon and Aaron was silent.
Hodu la-hashem ki tov, ki l’olam chasdo.