Saturday, August 9, 2008


(I wrote this in honor of Tisha b'Av. I sort of had this flash of emotion as I was putting my shoes on before going to shul to hear Eicha. I wanted to write this down afterwards before I lost it. The sad thing is, intense feeling like this will probably have all melted away by the time I wake up tomorrow, and then it will be just like any other Tisha b'Av - a lot more empty than it should be. I don't know why I suddenly felt so strongly tonight, but I'm glad I did, in a weird way. Seeing everyone in shul sitting on the floor helped, too. Also, I hope this isn't too intense for anyone. It was sort of intense for me, but I needed to write it and I felt it was powerful enough to post. At least, it was powerful for me. I can't say it will be for anyone else. But if it helps anyone at all, even in the tiniest way, relate to what today is all about, then I guess that's a good thing.)

~ a stream-of-consciousness story~

I am a tiny, insignificant speck. All around me is darkness. Swirling, swirling. Echoing screams of the past rush by, but they're not really there. But I feel the heat. I feel the fire. I feel it.

The fire.

It quivers. It sparks. It erupts in brutal flames. The flames - intensity in its purest form. Red. Orange. Yellow. Orange. Red. They all dance together - a rambunctious dance, a provocative dance, a dance of profanity as they desecrate everything holy. I feel anger - indignant anger - well up as the flames roll and laugh, cackle and crackle and lick at the very foundation of life and light and good things. This is the fire of Darkness. This is the smog and fog and smoke that we choke on. Choke and cough and sputter until our eyes run with sooty tears. These are the unconstrained flames that wriggle and twist - they twist at my soul. And I cry. I cry and cry and cry. Because it hurts! It hurts to be yanked away from the warmth and light and closeness of God! It hurts to be thrown down, to be cast aside, to be pushed away! It stings to be exiled, to yearn for that love which you know you'll have to try so much harder to feel. And I want to be comforted, I need to be comforted - but there is no comfort. Is it possible to be comforted for this plight? Is it possible?

And I know that this - this which I feel - is only an echo of what was once felt. Only a tiny, infinitesimal echo - because how can I really know? How can I really understand? Me, who has never known such holiness, who has never been so close to God, who has never heard the singing of the Levi'im and who has never understood what it was like to see someone bring a korban? Me, of the Diaspora. Me, who has lived my entire life in exile, never knowing what it was like not to be in exile.

So I bury my face and shiver at the thought that the pain I feel now is happiness compared to the pain felt then. This scares me. An eerie coldness grips my soul and envelops my entire being, because here I am, a 21st century American Jewish girl, and I think I understand pain and sadness and anguish. And it terrifies me - that my feeble shadow of pain is only that. A shadow. That there was a time when people suffered so intensely. And that time was real. And I can't fathom such a thing. And that's why it scares me. That such a thing could have existed at all.

1 comment:

Northern Light said...

Great post,'re one of the few who are appropriately touched by this day.