Today we are witnessing great carnage, as Covid-19 tears through our country, claiming more than 1,000 lives a day. My Spiritual Leader says that the suffering of our people is torturous and we need to cry out, to scream, to lament. We need to do this in order to remain human. We need to do this in order to find healing.
Most of all, we need to acknowledge the fullness of the tragedy that is unfolding in order to save lives.
Hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake. Silence is complicity. Failure to act is complicity. Failure to wear a mask and maintain social distance is complicity.
The matriarchs of my people taught us how to give voice to the pain-to grieve and to lament. From barrenness to unrequited love, each new hardship, and expressed her anguish. Rebecca endures a torturous pregnancy of twins that is tearing her apart and cries out, “Why is this?! Why is this happening to me?” And she did more than just cry. She went to seek-to demand-an answer.
The Talmud tells us that with the destruction of the Great Temple in Jerusalem the gates of prayer were closed but the gates of tears remained open. Prayer was insufficient in the face of such tragedy, It was too little merely to hope and wish, or to offer words and sacrifices. The moment called for more.
It demanded a total outpouring of the heart and soul to connect our people to the Source of Life, to give team strength to endure the depth of loss and to do what had to be done to carry on and find renewal.
My Spiritual Leader says we are living in just such a moment. And we must respond as our mothers taught us-to cry out, to pour out our hearts for God and all humanity to hear. Too may people have died. Do not be silent. Too many people have died. It is enough. It is more than enough! It is time to cry out!
Rabbi Hirshel Jaffe, a cancer survivor, is a motivational/inspirational speaker on the theme NEVER GIVE UP! He authored “Why Me? Why Anyone?” which chronicles his rescue from leukemia and his spiritual triumph over despair. Known as “The Running Rabbi” for competing in the NY Marathon, he received the “Award of Courage” from President Ronald Reagan in a White House ceremony. Rabbi Jaffe was one of the clergy who visited the American hostages in Iran to offer them comfort and hope and was asked by the President to greet them at the White House upon their return. He received an honorary Doctorate from his seminary for “his work with the sick, and his noble influence upon all people. You can find more information on his website.
Image courtesy of Maria Lysenko.