Bryan Opert

Al Ele Ani Bochiya


Hashem, and the Heavenly Court, enter
the Beit Knesset on Rosh Hashanah
to open The Books.(2)

uNetaneh Tokef (3) softly wafts through the hall and
Hashem opens the first page of The Book;
tears unexpectedly fall from His eyes.

the angels of the Heavenly Court are bewildered–
Hashem turns over the page and tears
continue to fall like the waters of
the Simchat Beit Hashoeva (4)

the tears smudge the ink and Hashem leaves
His Chair of Glory and sits on the
floor and places ash on
His head–and then

instead of reciting uNetaneh Tokef, the haunting
traditional melody of Eicha(5)
sounds through the hall:

“for these things I weep and My eyes overflow with tears;
no one is near to comfort Me,
no one to restore My spirit.
My children are destitute” (1)

the angels, frightened and confused, sit on the floor too
and lament–obligated by Divine Decree.
then in a broken voice Hashem tells them the story that
He read in the beginning of The Book:

on the first page was the story of Moshe haChareidi,
who refuses to serve in the Army that defends the Land (8)

Moshe Hachareidi receives assistance from the Land for
His children
His welfare and
His dwelling
the State of Israel provides for him

however, Moshe haChareidi would not say the prayer
for Medinat Yisrael because haChilonim
who run the country
desecrate the Torah

Moshe haChareidi did not like the leaders of haChilonim
at all–he hated them
and Hashem could not
hold in his cries, and He cried aloud.

the angels of the Heavenly Court waited to find out
what story appeared on the next page–whilst Hashem
gained his composure.

and with His tear-stained cheeks
and broken voice,
Hashem told those who would listen what was on the next page

this story was about His brilliant Children who He had gifted
with a superior intellect, they were to be
the protectors of the Land.(6)

and these blessed intellects would be fighter pilots and generals.
and leaders and negotiators, and they would build a
protection for the Apple of His Eye (7)
on the land which ‘He Would Reveal’(8)

amidst muffling sobs, Hashem told the angles of the Heavenly Court
that The Book told a story that many of these bright and
intelligent and creative Children hated their leaders

and refused to protect His Children
and they refused to do their duty

and they endangered His Children along with
His Land that He had revealed.

in a whisper, Hashem asked Himself why so many of His Beloved(9)
chose the language of hatred
but He had no answer

unable to weep anymore, Hashem told the angels of the Heavenly Court
how Moshe haChiloni would use the lives of His people
as pawns, because he said (as Moshe haChareidi had said before) that the leaders
desecrate the Land

but, Hashem whispers, the story sadly didn’t end there–because
the Brilliant Healers, who were profoundly talented
and had been blessed with apparent
compassion and depth-of-thought,
did the same as well
they would refuse to serve, saying, (as Moshe haChareidi had said before)
that the leaders desecrate the Land

after many hours, the Heavenly Court decided that Judgment
needs to be made;
and so they judged.

And on the Eighth Day, the Day of Holy Convocation, the Day of Ceasing, the Day of Solemn Assembly(10) at the end of the Festival of Remembering how Hashem with love protected his people in the desert,(11)
in the Time of His Rejoicing–(12)
Hashem called together
the Heavenly Court

the angels did not know why they had been called,
for the Day of Atonement had long passed
why on this feast day would the Heavenly Tribunal be called together

Hashem was silent (as Aharon before(13))
Hashem was wrapped in His shawl of prayer
Hashem just stood
Hashem trembled

as in the great academies of babylon, pumbedita and nehardea
the serving angels debated,
why now, why today
why now, why today

‘enough’ roared The Almighty-
the angels trembled and were in terror (3)
and after the daily moment of rage (13)
Hashem in a thin, soft voice whispered (3)

“seven beautiful days of rejoicing were spent with My entire world-(14)
each nation like a sweet savoring aroma (15)
anyone who did not see the joy, does not know what joy is (16)
and as the seventy returned to settle and build (17)

I asked, nay I commanded my treasure(18) to remain for one more day(19)
and I saw, still they did not walk in My ways (20)
and I said nay I begged, ‘your division- is too difficult for me’ (19)
that is why now, that is why today
that is why now, that is why today

standing before Hashem, the angels once again saw tears falling;
they once again saw Hashem
leave his tarnished Throne of Glory and sit on the
Floor and once again they heard

the chanting of Hashem in the haunting melody of Eicha–but as they
joined Him the words were different–the words were
Hinei Ma Tov uManaim Shevet Achim Gam Yachad
and the Beit Knesset filled with the joint cries of Hashem and His angels.

1) Lamentations 1:16
2) Tractate Rosh Hashanna 32b
3) U’netana Tokef Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur Prayer written circa 11 th Century.
4) Sukkot, Service of Drawing of the Water, a service of great rejoicing
5) Book of Lamentations
6) Reservists and Doctors threaten to strike if Judicial Reforms proceed (June 2023)
7) Zechariah 2:8
8) Genesis 12:1
9) Song of Songs 6:3
10) Leviticus 23:36
11) Sukkot: Leviticus 23:35
12) Leviticus 10:3
13) Tractate Berachot 7a
14) Sukkah 55b
15) Numbers 29:12
16) Mishnah Tractate Sukkah 5:1
17) Isaiah 45:18
18) Deuteronomy 7:6
19) Leviticus 23:36, Rashi
20) Deuteronomy 5:33

(With thanks for assistance to my son and a very dear friend)

About the Author
Having studied in Yeshiva for 8 years I became involved in communal and educational leadership within the Jewish community in three countries. I am a social entrepreneur in the South African broader community and teach Torah. My wife and I lead a small country community just outside Cape Town. I believe the Language and Imagery of the Tanach, Siddur and literary greats hold lessons of deep meaning for our people.
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