Over These I Cry

unnamed (56)אֵיכָה יָשְׁבָה בָדָד, הָעִיר רַבָּתִי עָם–הָיְתָה, כְּאַלְמָנָה; רַבָּתִי בַגּוֹיִם, שָׂרָתִי בַּמְּדִינוֹת–הָיְתָה, לָמַס – Alas, how is it possible that she dwells alone, the city (J’lem) that was so full of people has become like a widow!  She was great amongst the nations, a princess amongst the provinces, she has become a tax! (Eichah 1:1)

אֵיכָה – When I say אֵיכָה, how is it possible, it means, says R’ Soloveitchik zt’l, that it is impossible

אֵיכָה – How is it possible that once again we prepare to lament, to weep, to sit on the floor, to cry over our fate, our nation’s fate, the fate of our Land and our city?

אֵיכָה – It is impossible!

אֵיכָה – How is it possible that so many need salvation, Divine Mercy, healing, peace and tranquility, in place of the pain and bitterness that engulfs them?

אֵיכָה – How is it possible that almost 2,000 years after churban Bayis Sheni (the destruction of the 2nd Temple by the wicked Romans), we are still here, we are still in exile, we are still hounded and persecuted the world over…

אֵיכָה – It is impossible!  Alas, sighs the City of Gold, how the gold has dimmed…אֵיכָה יוּעַם זָהָב, יִשְׁנֶא הַכֶּתֶם הַטּוֹב; תִּשְׁתַּפֵּכְנָה, אַבְנֵי-קֹדֶשׁ, בְּרֹאשׁ, כָּל-חוּצוֹת – How the gold has dimmed, the finest gold has changed!  Holy stones are scattered at the head of every street (Eichah 4:1).

עַל-אֵלֶּה אֲנִי בוֹכִיָּה, עֵינִי עֵינִי יֹרְדָה מַּיִם–כִּי-רָחַק מִמֶּנִּי מְנַחֵם, מֵשִׁיב נַפְשִׁי; הָיוּ בָנַי שׁוֹמֵמִים, כִּי גָבַר אוֹיֵב – Over these I cry, my eye, my eye runs with tears!  Far from me is one to comfort me, to restore my soul; my sons are desolate, for the enemy has prevailed (Eichah 1:16).

Rabbi Michael “Mikki” Mark HY”D, 46, was amongst the first to move to Otniel. He started managing the hesder yeshiva at age 24.

“They told him ‘Come, try this for a little,’ and since then he’s been there,” his daughter, Tehilla, 14 years old, says with a smile. “He was a teacher through and through, that’s why he was so perfect for this job. He would talk to the students for hours and they all knew they could come to him for guidance. Young couples consulted him on both spiritual issues and technical problems. He was very wise and creative and always found an interesting way to look at every issue. Before the attack, three or four couples a week would come to our house for guidance.”

Tehila says her father made the most of every moment he had on earth.  “On the day of the attack (July 1, 2016), we were on our way to visit his mother, my grandmother, to have Shabbat with her so she won’t be alone. After all, the Torah says, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother, so that thy days are prolonged.’ So how is it possible that my father was murdered at a young age, when he was on his way to fulfilling the commandment of honoring his mother? I thought about this a lot, but then I realized that ‘prolonged days’ doesn’t necessarily mean living to the age of 200. It could also mean that your days, each day separately, would be long. My father’s days were very long. He managed to squeeze so much into them. He’d get up at 4:30am and go to sleep late, and every hour of the day focused on and used for important things.”

“So how is it possible that my father was murdered at a young age”….How is it possible means it is impossible!

יְתוֹמִים הָיִינוּ אין (וְאֵין) אָב, אִמֹּתֵינוּ כְּאַלְמָנוֹת – We are orphans without a father, our mothers are as widows (Eichah 5:3).

Feb 24, 2016 – Maj. (res.) Eliav Gelman, 30, of Karmei Tzur, attempted to fire at a terrorist who charged at him with a knife at the Gush Etzion junction south of Jerusalem. He was mortally wounded by a bullet fired by IDF forces to neutralize the terrorist.

Gelman’s brother Eyal described him as deeply religious, studying the Bible and Talmud every day. A neighbor related that even as a military man, the amount of time he would give his sons was extraordinary. After leaving active service, he spent every available moment with his two young sons.  Maj. (res.) Eliav Gelman was buried in the Kfar Etzion cemetery. He is survived by his wife Rinat, seven months pregnant (at the time of his death), their two sons, Yair (5) and Yoav (2), parents David and Sarah, three brothers and two sisters.

Indeed, we are like orphans without their father, our mothers as widows.

נָפְלָה עֲטֶרֶת רֹאשֵׁנוּ, אוֹי-נָא לָנוּ כִּי חָטָאנוּ – The crown has fallen from our head; woe to us, we have sinned (Eichah 5:16). 

Oct 13, 2015 – Chaim Haviv, 78, of Jerusalem was killed in a combined shooting and stabbing attack on Egged bus 78 in the neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv in southern Jerusalem.

Chaim Haviv and his wife Shoshana were on their way home from a visit to the doctor when the terrorists attacked the bus. Chaim was killed; Shoshana was seriously wounded.

Chaim immigrated to Israel from Iraq with his parents and ten siblings at the age of 11, settling in Jerusalem.  His son Yoram relates: “Growing up, we didn’t have money but we felt rich and led full lives. He raised five children and instilled in us the values of family and hard work. If he were here he would ask for one thing only: peace.”  Chaim’s nephew Benny described him as a “simple, honest man who lived his life and connected with everyone. Since the day he immigrated to Israel, he lived in Jerusalem and raised a large family that is now mourning his loss.”  Chaim Haviv was buried in the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem. He is survived by his wife Shoshana, five children and 14 grandchildren.

How is it possible that once again, this coming Tishaa B’Av, on this יום המר והנמהר, bitter day saturated with bitterness, we will sit on the floor again, we will mourn again, we will cry yet again… How is it possible, אֵיכָה, that the redemption has not yet come…?

Miriam Peretz relates, “When I received notice of Eliraz’s (1978-2010) death, I accused G-d: ‘Wasn’t it enough that you took Uriel (1976-1998) and Eliezer (her husband)?  Are You, the One Who is greater than all others, the All-Powerful and Awe-Inspiring, battling against little me?   What is the power dynamic between us?  It’s not fair!’  But in the same moment, in the midst of all that shock and pain, I realized the greatness of the Creator.  Eventually I learned to say to Gd: ‘I accept Your judgement… Little me is asking only for one thing from You: Mercy.  Have mercy on me.  I beg You, don’t touch my children or grandchildren.  Let me be their ransom.”

כִּי אִם-מָאֹס מְאַסְתָּנוּ, קָצַפְתָּ עָלֵינוּ עַד-מְאֹד – For even if you have utterly rejected us, You have surely raged sufficiently (Eichah 5:22).

Despite our pain and our grief, it seems that once again, we will mourn this Sunday, as we observe the fast of Tishaa B’Av… For with churban, destruction, comes exile, and with exile comes losses, and with losses comes the searing – individual and national – pain…

זכור ה׳ מה היה לנו הביטה וראה את חרפתינו – Remember Hashem what has befallen us, look and see our shame (Eichah 5:1).

In disbelief, we mourn; in pain, we cry; in tears, we lament….אֵיכָה – It is impossible!

השיבנו ה׳ אליך ונשובה חדש ימינו כקדם – Turn to us Hashem, and return, restore our days as of old (Eichah 5:21).

May we merit it immediately, amen v’amen.

בברכת בשורות טובות ושבת שלום,

Michal

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3 Comments
  • Marla
    Posted at 18:37h, 11 August Reply

    Read with tear filled eyes. May you have a meaningful and easy fast and may Moshiach arrive to change this day from sorrow to joy!

  • Teena
    Posted at 08:58h, 12 August Reply

    Amidst all the pain we do have to stop and appreciate what Hashem has given us in eretz yisrael we Cannot be כפוי טובה.
    In the gemorrah it says כל המתאבל על חרבן ירושלים זוכה בשמחתה
    Rav kookזל asked why does it not say זוכה בבנייה the building of Jerusalem it it is the opposite and hope from a churban
    He says. Everyone will see the building בנין but not everyone will be happy שמח
    So it is a סכות to see the rebuilding of Yerushalayim appreciate it and be bisimcha about it
    We are in a galut state of mind
    We were promised a home. That does not deny many challenges
    May this Trisha b’AV be the last of sorrow and pain
    וראה בטוב ירושלים

    • Michal Horowitz
      Posted at 09:36h, 12 August Reply

      Thank you for your insightful comments and taking the time to share.
      There are most certainly times and days when we focus on the tova and shefa brachos Hashem bestows upon us, and there are times and days, R”L, we mourn and focus on churban. The Three Weeks, the 9 Days and Tishaa Ba’Av are of the later. Im lo achshav, ai’masay? If we do not mourn now…then when?
      In regard to appreciating Medinat Yisrael, R’ Soloveitchik zt’l says we must give praise and thanks for the State every day (not only on Yom Ha’Azmaut but every day of the year for the gift of our return!).
      However, appreciating the gift of Modern Day Israel does not negate or contradict the national state of pain, mourning, churban and oppression we still continue to witness, despite the existence of the State of Israel.
      And, so, we continue to pray every day – 3 times a day – for Hashem to return his Shechina to Tzion, to rebuild J’lem, and to return our people in complete peace and total simcha. Es tzemach Dovid avdecha mi’hay’rah satz’miach.
      May we merit it immediately and in our days.

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