A Soldier’s Song

February 14, 2024

Shaul Greenglick was a young man of remarkable talent and unwavering dedication to his country. At the age of 26, Shaul served as an Israeli military reservist, actively participating in operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip following the October 7th massacre. Yet, amidst the demands of military service, he also pursued his passion for the arts. His appearance on “Israel’s Rising Star” on December 3, during a break from his reserve duties, left an indelible mark on the nation. Dressed in his army uniform, adorned with lieutenant’s stripes, his performance not only garnered widespread acclaim but also secured his advancement to the next round of the competition, which determines Israel’s representative for the Eurovision Song Contest.

Shaul’s dual identity as both a soldier and an artist painted a picture of a young man deeply committed to his country and his passions. The news of his passing in Gaza, mere weeks after his unforgettable audition, resonated deeply across the country. Ironically, the song he had sung was about living with deep pain.

In the aftermath of his passing, his mother, Ruthi, sought solace from the pain of his death in the biblical story of Joseph.

Joseph, the beloved eleventh son of Jacob, was hated by his brothers who eventually sold him into slavery in Egypt. Despite the many adversities he faced, including betrayal, false accusations and imprisonment, Joseph’s journey culminated in his rise to become the Pharaoh’s most trusted advisor, saving Egypt from famine. When he finally reunited with his brothers and they expressed concern that he still held a grudge against them, Joseph reassured them with the words, “Have no fear! Am I a substitute for the Lord? Besides, although you intended me harm, the Lord intended it for good, so as to bring about the present result—the survival of many people” (Genesis 50:19-20).

Joseph’s ability to forgive his brothers and see the divine purpose in his hardships offered Ruthi a powerful framework for dealing with her grief. She shared her reflections with her family, emphasizing the choice we all have in framing our stories despite the pain and suffering we might endure. She wrote, “Despite his brothers selling him, despite winding up in an Egyptian jail, Joseph chose to reframe the events. He chose not to be a victim but to search for his mission, to look at reality with a positive eye and to think about why he was here and how he could contribute… we, too, can choose to dream like Joseph.”

Joseph’s story, a journey from betrayal to forgiveness and leadership, underscores the belief in the power of redefining one’s story and finding meaning and purpose in adversity. It teaches us that in the face of loss and challenge, there lies an opportunity to contribute to a narrative of hope and renewal. As the saying goes, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”

In Ruthi Greenglick’s case, she was able to see that out of her pain and suffering came unity and brotherhood. Throughout the seven-day mourning period, as well as during a retreat in which the family sought solace and space to breathe, they encountered an outpouring of love and generosity from people across Israel, many of whom had never met them or Shaul before. Strangers from diverse backgrounds came together to ensure the family could recite the kaddish prayer that can only be said in the presence of ten men, offered them meals, and gave them hugs and comfort. This incredible gesture of unity and empathy from across the religious spectrum transformed their period of mourning into a testament to the strength and warmth of the Israeli community.

Shaul Greenglick’s life, his mother’s poignant words, and the timeless lessons from Joseph’s story invite us to reflect on the impact of our perspectives and choices. They encourage us to navigate life’s trials with faith, optimism and unity.

 

Israeli soldiers are risking their lives to protect us all from Islamic terrorism. But they need our help. Sign up for Israel365 Action to receive updates on how YOU can help fight Hamas and its supporters in the United States and around the world. 

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

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