Bowls of Blood and Tears
Erev Pesach, 2002
Erev Pesach, 2002
The archangel stood, approached the holy throne, and bowed before the L-rd. Receiving permission to speak, the angel lowered his eyes to the ground, unable and unwilling to look G-d in the eye.
“My L-rd, today is the second day of the week. In two days time we must be ready to accept the annual Passover offering. My L-rd, it is known before You, that since the destruction of the Second Temple, almost two thousand years ago, our People have yearned to bring their offerings, yet have been unable to do so. During the centuries of our dispersion, Passover was only a ceremony, with memories, reading from our holy books, going through the motions. Now, Now, Blessed be Your Name, with the return of our People to the holy city of Jerusalem, those yearnings have increased a thousand fold, yet your People still are prevented from giving their offering.”
“My L-rd, on Passover eve, it is customary to recite the four questions, which ask, ‘why is this night different from other nights.’ My L-rd, this year your humble and lowly servant stands before You, proclaiming that not only is this night unlike other nights. My L-rd, this year is unlike other years.”
My all-knowing L-rd, in the past fifteen months, since the eve of Rosh HaShana 5761, three hundred and sixty five Israelis have been slaughtered before you. Over two hundred and fifty of them were civilians. Over three thousand three hundred and fifty people have been wounded, over two thirds of them civilians. Men, women and children, killed and maimed, their blood spilt, for the sake of your Holy Name.”
My L-rd, only yesterday two more holy Jews were sacrificed on the alter of peace. Such good and beautiful people, a woman and a man. Esther, only 23 years old, not yet married, caring for children, young children, disabled children with Down’s syndrome and other disabilities. Esther so loved her land and her people, coming to Israel from afar, leaving the comforts of America, for the soil of Eretz Yisrael.
My L-rd, Esther was on her way to her children, the children that needed her and loved her. She was riding in an armored bus, yet the terrorist’s bullet found its into the bus, striking her down, another sacrificial lamb, pure and innocent.
And again My L-rd, last night, Avi, a twenty four year old man, married only six months, who too, worked with children, a medic in the army, a person who cared for his fellow man, living in the holy community of Otniel, so near the founders of your People in the holy city of Hebron. He too was shot down by an enemy of your People. He too tried to protect himself, clad with a bullet-proof vest and an army helmet. Yet they could not help him in his hour of need. He leaves a heartbroken widow, Daphna, his wife of only half a year.
Woe to us, woe to us, for our sacrifices are so abundant, so much blood is spilled. Three hundred and sixty five people – one for each day of the last year, from last Passover to today.
My L-rd, Your holy place is still in the hands of the defiled, corrupting sanctity with profanity. There are those amongst your own People who still do not understand the holiness of this site, the center of the universe, the heart of your Land, your People, your teaching.
My L-rd, here in one hand, a bowl, filled to the brim with a drop of blood from each of the sacrifices – please accept this as atonement, grant forgiveness, let no more blood be spilled. Let the blood of this year’s Passover offering be of a sacrificial lamb, and not of sacrificial people, sacrificial Jews.
And here, my L-rd, in my other hand, another bowl, also filled to the brim, with tears, one tear from each of the orphans, widows, widowers, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, the loved ones who have lost their loved ones. Please My L-rd, let these tears be a symbol of compassion, a sign of mercy, and let them be the last tears shed in pain, let next year’s tears be tears of joy and happiness.
My L-rd, here lined up behind me, are the souls of the children who were to be born to Esther and Avi. Look how many there are – their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, a whole room of souls, who will not now be brought into your world, for they lost their parents, even before they were born.
My L-rd, how will Nachum Klieman, Esther’s father, celebrate this year’s Passover? My L-rd, how will Daphna Tzabag, Avi’s widow, celebrate this year’s Passover? How will they say, as your People recite, every Passover night, those famous words, B’damaich Chai’e, B’damaich Chai’e – and you will live in your blood, you will live in your blood. My L-rd, these people have lived, but also died, in their blood. How will they repeat these words, with a smile, or with tears in their eyes?
My L-rd, every Passover night your People participate in a Seder – in the order of the night, reading the Hagada, the story of the redemption, thousands of years ago, from Egypt. This is the story of liberation, preceding the receiving of the Torah, preceding the entrance into the Homeland, Eretz Yisrael. My L-rd, they received Your Torah and they are in the Land, but where is the freedom, where is the liberation? Why must your People ride in armored buses, with bulletproof vests and helmets, which don’t even protect them? Is this the sign of a free, liberated People?
My L-rd, this Passover night, when You recite Your own Hagada, when You make Your own Seder, please, my L-rd, place these two bowls of blood and tears on Your table, before you, and sit with all these souls, the lost souls of Avi and Esther, and promise them that next year, there will be no more lost souls, that there will be no more blood, that there will be no more tears, that next year’s Seder will celebrate the true and final liberation, redemption of the Jewish people, in their Land.
Thank you, my L-rd.
With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder