lunes, 1 de septiembre de 2014

A special place in hell

You don't know me anymore, Lord. Not after Gaza

Wherever we find ourselves this Rosh Hashanah, 450 children will be sitting beside us, uninvited. They will neither squirm nor feel restless. But we will. They were alive last year, and now they are dead.

Sep. 1, 2014 | 4:47 PM |  


This year, we're starting from scratch, Lord. It's almost Rosh Hashanah, and You don't know me anymore. Not after Gaza.
I thought things were bad a year ago. And the year before that. Turns out, I didn't know a thing.
More than anything, I still need to know what actually happened in the war this summer. And, despite my best instincts, I still don't really want to know.
This morning I took down the machzor, looking for some form of hope in the Rosh Hashanah service. This is what the prayer book opened to: What is read, and what is repeated, before the ram's horn is blown for the first time.
Min Hameitzar – From the narrow strip, from the terrifying, dark, claustrophobic walled-off place, from the space whose very name is My Distress ….
This year, we read aloud the name of Daniel Tragerman, beloved of his family, four years old, child of God, descendant of Abraham, killed in Kibbutz Nahal Oz. May his blessed memory be, in time, for peace.
Karati Yah – I called to You, Lord. I called You. There was no one else to call.
This year, we read aloud the name of Kamal Ahmed al-Bakri, beloved of his family, four years old, child of God, descendant of Abraham, killed in Gaza City. May his blessed memory be, in time, for peace.
Annani BaMerchav Yah – The Lord answered me, and set me free, answered me and put me in a place of openness, spaciousness, freedom.
This year, we read aloud the name of Aseel Muhammad al-Bakri, beloved of her family, four years old, child of God, descendant of Abraham, killed in Gaza City. May her blessed memory be, in time, for peace.
Koli Shamata – You've heard my voice. You heard me when I cried.
This year, we read aloud the name of Anas Ibrahim Hammad, beloved of his family, four years old, child of God, descendant of Abraham, killed in Rafiah. May his blessed memory be, in time, for peace.
Al Ta'lem Oznecha L'ravchati Lshav'ati – When I cry out, don’t just shut Your ears to my plea for relief, the sound of my breathing, my sighs, my cry for help.
This year, we read aloud the name of Khalid Suleiman al-Masri, beloved of his family, four years old, child of God, descendant of Abraham, killed in Rafah. May his blessed memory be, in time, for peace.
I don't know the truth, Lord.
I do know that all of this could have been avoided. But it wasn't. And we are all responsible.
I do know that all this could have stopped sooner, and these children left alive. But it wasn't. And they weren't. And we are all responsible.
Tuv Ta'am VaDa'at Lam'Deini, Ki BaMitzvotecha He'emanti – Teach me good judgment and knowledge, teach me to be sensible and fair and reasonable and understanding, because I was once, I have been, a believer in your commandments.
This year, we read aloud the name of Do'aa Mustafa Al Mahmoud, beloved of her family, four years old, child of God, descendant of Abraham, killed in Rafah. May her blessed memory be, in time, for peace.
Wherever we find ourselves this Rosh Hashanah, in whatever synagogue or open field or home we happen to be, an additional 450 children will be sitting beside us, uninvited. They will behave themselves. They will make not a sound. They will neither squirm nor feel restless. But we will.
They were alive last year, and now they are dead. And we are all responsible.

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