In hearing of the tragic death of Orthodox eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky of Brooklyn, New York, I am grief-stricken. Only two days ago his parents made the difficult decision to allow Lieby to walk halfway home from day camp (his Imma was supposed to meet him halfway) as a result of Leiby’s request to be allowed to walk home by himself. Only Leiby never met up with his Imma; he disappeared.
Within several hours literally thousands of people were frantically searching for him and emails went out world-wide requesting prayer for his safe return to his family. Approximately 12 FBI agents, in addition to local law enforcement, were actively participating in the search.
Unfortunately, early this morning, a man was arrested and confessed to murdering Leiby. Baruch HaShem Leiby’s body was found quickly!
The family is now sitting shivah with no hopes of ever hugging their dear Leiby again. Words can not express the anguish his family, his community, and the Jewish community world-wide is feeling.
When I first learned Leiby was missing, I was amazed at the sheer numbers of people searching for Leiby. There wasn’t time to waste and thousands of folks dropped their daily activities and began searching yards and knocking on doors as well as combing through surveillance tapes. When I read how fast the community responded, I thought, now that’s community! In a matter of 120 minutes, thousands were searching for dear Leiby! I want to be part of a community like that, both locally and in a global sense!
May we all learn from Leiby’s horrifying death. HaShem should cause us to draw near to each other, regardless of the circumstances, and form a solidified community that glorified His name always! May HaShem also guide us as parents to know when to allow our precious children that He has entrusted to us, to be independent and when to keep them close to us.
May Hashem, Who is everywhere, comfort the Kletzky family amongst the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Amen.
Here is a link to an excellent article about these events written by Rabbi Benjamin Blech: http://www.aish.com/jw/s/In_Memory_of_Leiby_Kletzky.html?mobile=yes&c=y