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One brotherhood: the whole house of Israel

משתתפי "קמפ מסורה" בקריאת מגילת איכה

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Throughout Shabbat in New York, we prayed for our brothers and sisters in Israel. When we added a chapter of Psalms at the end of our prayers, we did not know exactly what was happening. At the close of Shabbat on Saturday night, we were updated precisely at the moment we went to hear the reading of Aicha (book of Lamentations) together with recitation of kinot (elegies). And so I found myself among a thousand children, teenagers, and their counselors at Camp Mesorah, when they all sang:

"Our brothers, within the whole house (family) of Israel, who are in distress or in captivity, on the seas or on land, the Omnipresent should have mercy upon them and bring them out of distress to wellbeing, from darkness into light, from subjugation to redemption."

We are accustomed to say this prayer in Israel for our brothers in the Diaspora, and here I am with them while they are singing this prayer for us in Israel. We sang and thought about the parents who ran with their children to their safe rooms, about the reservists who were called up on Shabbat, about half of the country, in fact.

Among Chasidim, it is said that tears generally flow downward, but there are times when tears ascend upwards. Tisha B'Av is such a time. This is not a day simply meant for crying and for bitterness. This is a day for channeling all of our distress and sadness and prayers into a shout requesting radical Divine intervention. We are not praying only for quiet in Gaza. That's the minimum. Today is all about requesting the maximum: the complete and final redemption.


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