From my home in Brooklyn throughout the morning, I closely followed the minute by minute accounts of the return of Gilad Shalit. At 4:30 a.m., the Egyptian television image of the gaunt 25-year-old Israeli soldier, who just moments before had been released by his Hamas captors and crossed the Gazan border a free man, flashed on my computer screen. What an extraordinary feeling of joy to see this young, frail and innocent man alive and well!

After five years of imprisonment in a cellar of hell guarded by terrorists, refused even a humanitarian visit from the Red Cross, Gilad is now home with Noam and Aviva Shalit, the father and mother who for years, camped out in front of the Prime Minister’s Office to draw attention to their son’s plea.

Since the Shalits erected their tent off of, interestingly enough, Gaza Street, I visited them during a few trips to Jerusalem. They were the most dedicated parents one could ever meet; after looking at the pain in their eyes, it was impossible to forget young Gilad during daily prayers.

Thousands of us, joined by those who never knew the family, have dedicated good deeds in Gilad’s merit, yearning for the day that he would one day know freedom.

My nine-year-old daughter Moussie, who was moved by her own visit with the Shalits, decided to write a letter to Gilad a few days before Rosh Hashanah this year. A school project had students extend High Holiday greetings to people they cared about, and she couldn’t think of anyone more appropriate than this man she never met.

“My wish for the New Year is for you to finally get back to your parents and family who love you and miss you so dearly,” she wrote, signing her letter “A Caring Girl” and fully aware that Gilad might never see it. “All of Israel, all the Jewish people in the world, and, I am sure, all good and kindhearted people on earth join me in this wish.”

Last week, during a family trip to my brother’s Chabad House in Alabama, we learned that Gilad would soon be home.

Words cannot describe our elation upon seeing the headlines.

But the feelings of relief, of happiness and of joy soon gave way to trepidation and fear as news of the price – 1,027 prisoners and terrorists! – trickled through.

That evening I saw on Facebook the efforts of Arnold Roth, whose 15-year-old daughter Malki was among the 15 others cut down by a suicide bomber’s blast outside the Sbarro pizzeria in 2001. Mr. Roth noted that as part of the Israeli government’s deal with Hamas, it would be releasing Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who helped plan and carry out the attack that took his daughter’s life. Five years ago, this same terrorist famously exclaimed: “I’m not sorry for what I did.”

Mr. Roth was looking for signatures on a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Justice Ministry to strike Tamimi’s name from the list of prisoners to be freed. The plea – and similar ones lodged by terror victims’ family members – fell on deaf ears. This, despite the promises of many of these terrorists to return to their bloodthirsty ways.

Can anyone forget the events of October 2000, when Abed Alaziz Salaha waved his bloody hands joyously from the second floor of the Ramallah police station while his accomplices threw the lynched body of 35-year-old Vadim Norzich out the window? That image, a telling example of the savagery perpetrated by the same villains now celebrating their own freedom, will be seared into my mind for a lifetime.

Yesterday, I read the response of Sherri Mandell, whose 13-year-old son Koby and friend Yosef Ish Ran were stoned to death near his Tekoa home, to the prisoner transfer. While Israel rejoices, she wrote, she and other parents, widows and orphans are in despair. As someone who has dedicated her life to working with other victims’ families, she has seen people die from grief. She realizes she will likely see more.

Listening to the experts speak about how the terrorists now rejoicing in Gaza are more than 50 percent likely to go back to murdering again sends a shiver down my spine. My heart rejoices with the Shalits, but I am in fear of what course nature will take with these monsters free again.

During one of my conversations with Noam Shalit, the soft-spoken father acknowledged that by advocating for the release of hardened criminals, of terrorists with blood on their hands, he could be indirectly consigning even more innocents to death and pain.

“The Israeli security services and the army should re-arrest all of those with blood on their hands after their return,” he stated. “My son, who as a soldier served his country, is entitled for Israel to do anything and everything to bring him home.”

I pray that his entire wish comes true.

In the Book of Joshua we learn that as Moses’ successor was leading the Jewish people in battle to conquer the Land of Israel, victory was imminent, but darkness was about to fall. Joshua decreed that the Sun should stand still until Israel’s armies win the battle. G‑d performed a miracle and brought the entire solar system to a halt.

We are now in the midst of the joyous holiday of Sukkot, and as we prepare to enter the celebrations of Simchat Torah, we desperately need that Sun to halt once more. Let the miracle of Gilad’s release continue with an even greater miracle, with the revealed promise of G‑d’s full protection of all the people of Israel and the ultimate joy of an era when war, murder and evil will be eradicated forever.