Emotion Over Intellect

Benaya RheinYesterday some of the families from the Shvut Ariel neighborhood trekked up the hill to the Netzarim neighborhood for the Brit Milah of our friends’ newborn son.

At the beggining of the davenning I noticed someone who wasn’t from Netzarim, didn’t bear resemblence to the families of the newborn’s parents, and yet looked somewhat familiar. I didn’t make much of it, and opted to turn my gaze to my siddur and attempt to daven with at least a touch of “intent”.

At the close of the Brit the baby was, of course, given his name: Benaya Eytan (loosely translated as “the enduring strength of G-d’s building”). “Nice name” I thought to myself. “It’s great to live in a community with so many Jewish families naming their children as an expression of the potential and ultimate strength and meaning of Jewish life in Israel”. 

My gaze wandered, as before. I caught a glimpse of the man I had recognized earlier. To put it lightly – he was very “emotional”. He wasn’t singing and dancing, though in some ways maybe his heart and soul were. His tears revealed emotion – an intensity of an experience that overrides the intellect and is inevtiably displayed as “emotion”. 

 I hope that Benaya Rhein’s father will forgive me for publicly discussing his display of emotion. There is simply no other way for the reader to appreciate what was going on: the names need to be mentioned.

 Benaya Rhein, may Hashem avenge his blood, was a a major in the IDF Tank Brigade. He was on leave when the recent Lebanon War broke out. He went up North, and insisted on joining the war effort. “As long as the resident’s of the North can’t return to their homes I’m not returning home”. His superior officer conceded, and Benaya was given the mission of rescuing soldiers who were down and wounded on the battlefield. The two tanks in his command were termed “The Benaya Force” – successful in saving tens of soldiers’ lives.

On the last day of the war The Benaya Force was given one last mission- saving the soldiers in a disabled tank. In the process his tank was hit by a missle. He and his crew were killed. (To learn more about Benaya Rhein click here- http://www.benaya.name/ – it’s worth learning Hebrew just for the site.)

The Rheins and the newborn Benaya Eytan’s grandparents are neighbors. Benaya Eytan is yet another child named after Benaya Rhein. All those who knew the source of the name, who saw Benaya’s father or mother at the time of the naming,  couldn’t help but cry. We’re used to drawing on the strengths of our heroes here in Israel. Still, it’s not something to be analyzed in theory, something for the mind to comprehend- not while a Jewish child is being given his name, his direction, his identity. It’s a time for emotion.    



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