Don’t Miss the Lesson: Reflections On Two Missing Boys Who Caused Us to Pause


By Rabbi Yitzchok Hisiger

Today, some of our hearts skipped a beat.

If you were one of those who heard that two boys in Lakewood, NJ, had gone missing, you stopped what you were doing. You hoped silently, praying fervently, that it would just end well.

And then you thought of the unthinkable.

If you were like me, you thought of a boy named Leiby. And you shuddered.

Every minute was excruciating. You waited for some good news.

Five minutes. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes.

Police. Chaveirim. Whoever. The search was on. It was frantic.

And then the pictures appeared, making it as real as one can imagine. Two beautiful faces, two precious Yiddishe boys. And your heart skipped a beat once again.

Where were they? Why hadn’t they gotten on their bus? Where could they have gone? Or, more frighteningly, who could have taken them away?

And then you, like me, thought of your loved ones. Your parents, your spouse, your kids, your siblings. Suddenly, your heart softened. You promised to yourself, as I did, that as soon as you’d get home this evening, you’d hug each child for as long as possible. And you’d tell them how much you love them. And you’d watch them much more carefully, especially tomorrow morning at the bus.

And then you snapped out of your reverie, staring, once again, at the images on your phone of the two sweet little boys from Lakewood who were nowhere to be found.

Oh, the pain! Oh, the torment!

It was impossible to do anything productive. We needed to know, and we needed to know right away: Where are those two boys? Where are our two boys?

After what seemed like an eternity, phones started buzzing. They were found! Boruch Hashem. Wow. What a relief. Thank You, Hashem. We could not have handled a tragedy. It would have been too much. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

And then we went back to our routine.

But wait a second. Don’t just let it go.

Don’t lose that feeling just yet.

Don’t forget how vulnerable we all felt during that hour or so. Don’t forget how the priorities of life seemed so clear during that period.

Don’t let this experience go to waste.

Just as you and I did during that hour, think once again about your loved ones – your parents, your spouse, your kids, your siblings, your grandparents, your nieces and nephews, your extended family – and your friends and co-workers.

And just as you and I promised to do, as soon as you get home, hug each child for as long as possible. And tell them how much you love them. And watch them much more carefully, especially tomorrow morning at the bus.

Hashem granted us a yeshuah. We are so grateful!

He allowed us to be reminded of what’s important without having to experience the pain.

He gave us a priceless opportunity to appreciate what we have without having to undergo suffering to do so.

Thank Him for that.

And then go and tell your loved ones and those who fill your life with meaning that they mean the world to you.

Rabbi Yitzchok Hisiger is the author of Food for Thought and executive editor of Yated Ne’eman.



  1. Thank you so much Rabbi Hisiger for this article, wake-up call, reality check, guidance, and mussar shmues.

    Putting safety aside for a moment, and even realizing that work schedules and family obligations do not always allow for escorting our children to and from their bus stops, let’s put everything into perspective and in its proper level of priority. CHaZa”L teach us that women receive reward for limud ha’Torah by sending their husbands and children off to learn and awaiting their arrival from their holiest of holiest of tasks. Too often I have seen this responsibility, this privilege, this obligation, this priceless opportunity relegated to older siblings, to the neighbors, or worse to the non-Jewish help.

  2. Every tragedy has a wake up call message from Hashem. Most of them are for klal Yisroel to come together to do teshuva other times it’s for klal Yisroel to return to achdus/unity

    Sadly in today’s generation of instant gratification and self-centeredness we are facing a major problem called FACING REALITY. what happens to %99 of us when tragedy strikes today C”V? We live in denial and block it from our faces and think what does Hashem want from me? I don’t even know these boys or this couple that hit tragedy R”L…. but the truth is We all get the wake up call message…. From Hashem for teshuva but we’re not ready to admit it and say to ourselves yes Hashem we get your wake up call and will do teshuva….

    Thus we leaving our loving father Hashem no choice but to keep bringing tzaros upon us R”L

    I.e. I BEG EVERYONE to wake up to reality with a mashal. Thousands of accidents happen every week with texting and driving but do any of us learn from it and stop texting? Almost all of us are still texting until C”V personal tragedy strikes…. WHY DO WE NEED IT TO GET THAT BAD for us to wake up to teshuva?

    Boruch Hashem the boys were found safe. Lets learn from the story ALL we can do to prevent this from ever happening in the future.


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