Five years.
Over 1,900 days.
Information rationed
Sometimes too cold
Sometimes too hot
Sometimes thirsty, hungry, aching
Always lonely
Cold fluorescent lights
Long, fear-filled nights
Dreams of home and hot food - those flavors!
Shabbat candles
Fresh challah
Sweet wine
Familiar smells, sounds, sights
Beloved faces, family, friends, comrades in arms
Do they think I'm dead?
How badly do they want me back?

While around that Friday table, hearts ache
Remembering, loving, yearning, determined.
Joined by an ever-expanding family whose hearts cannot abide
A brother in captivity
Destiny unknown...
Posters, billboards
Television interviews
Newspaper reports
Magazine articles
Banners on balconies
Rallies, demonstrations
Facebook posts and updates
All with that image of a be-spectacled youth
With a buzz
The compound image of your son and mine
Only he is lost.

There were ninety nine sheep
All at home, safe and sound
One strayed, lost his way
Darkness descended, cold, fear, panic
Carnivorous sounds all around
Baaaaa, baaaaaa, help! Hatzilu!

The Shepherd with a Father's heart
Leaves the ninety nine
Scours the hillside, every bush
Rock and crevice, slippery slope
Finds the one, the precious one
Lost and helpless, now embraced
Held firm while the Shepherd lifts
His face
And laughs
"Just like this" we're told, "the hosts of heaven laugh
When one who is lost is found and brought back home."
What heroic act, what feat of strength?
What great accomplishment
Makes this one soul so deserving of
A price dearly paid
And in the end,
The joy of every heart?
Only he is ours
And he is loved
And he was missed
He was lost and is found
He was bound and is free

Little did he know last week
In his lonely half-tomb room
That flowers would line the streets
"He's coming home!" would hang on balconies
The heart of the nation would swell with gladness
And the mothers and fathers of Israel would weep for joy

Our son is home!
Gil (rejoice)! Ad (forever)!