Finally, A Day to Mourn


וּמָרְדֳּכַ֗י יָדַע֙ אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר נַֽעֲשָׂ֔ה וַיִּקְרַ֤ע מָרְדֳּכַי֙ אֶת־בְּגָדָ֔יו וַיִּלְבַּ֥שׁ שַׂ֖ק וָאֵ֑פֶר וַיֵּצֵא֙ בְּת֣וֹךְ הָעִ֔יר וַיִּזְעַ֛ק זְעָקָ֥ה גְדוֹלָ֖ה וּמָרָֽה

״And Mordecai knew all that had transpired, and Mordecai rent his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and he went out into the midst of the city and cried [with] a loud and bitter cry

Megillat Esther chapter 4:1

Despite the two months that have passed since my last hearing this verse, it still turns itself in my mind.

It’s a verse I have read twice on every Purim that I can remember, but that I only grasp now—in the world that exists after October 7th.

I think of Mordechai’s clarity and strength of spirit. How he openly mourned the evil he had witnessed.

But the days since the 7th haven’t been about mourning the way we want to.

About crying or wearing our grief.

They have been full of rallying support for soldiers

Of helping wives holding down the home front

Of Raising the National spirit

Our people continue to push forward—the only and very difficult direction for a nation whose identity belongs to that of a pioneer instead of a victim. This spirit is the enduring gift of our little and unlikely Jewish tribe, as Matti Friedman reflects in his book “Spies of no country”.

The nation has plowed on desperately and honorably, despite the breaks and bruises. Knowing that our stubborn refusal to be annihilated is the only thing keeping us from that fate.

But today, Memorial Day began; The siren sounded and everything stopped.

Today, we have given each other permission to step briefly outside the pioneering spirit, knowing it will be there for us to pick up tomorrow night.

Today, seemingly for the first time since the start of this war, there is a space to do nothing but mourn.

And mourn I do.

Not just for my own people, because Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Atheists were slaughtered by Hamas along side Jews.

Not just for my gender, because men were cut down and broken along side the raped women

Not just for my fellow youth, because gentle elderly and innocent babies were butchered and burned along with the young and strong

Not just for those murdered, but also for those still missing.

Not just for the nefarious hatred of our enemies, but for the defeating silence of our friends.

Not just for the 7th of October, but for every day after.

For every day that ends with hostages still in tunnels,

For the death of innocent lives piling insurmountably on both sides,

For all of the Israeli and Palestinian children who should have grown up.

For all of the fathers and mothers who should have been there to raise them.

For the wrenching feeling that all the faith I may have had in peace has been shattered irrevocably.

For the daily, humble, quiet effort to rebuild that faith without knowing if it will be crushed again.

Today, like Mordechai, we should go out to our cities, or maybe just sit at home.

Ash on our ripped clothes

Crying loudly and bitterly

Not to the world, who has longed stopped listening—replacing its transient show of empathy with either complete apathy or insidious calls for our genocide.
But to our God, the one source which has always received our tears. Like a child to his father. With the relief of finally being heard.

And when this day ends, may we continue to push on as pioneers—allowing ourselves to be greater in love and strength because of our grief and brokenness.

On this Day of Remembrance, may God remember his people, and bring the world to healing and peace.

About the Author
Rebekah is a Registered Nurse, former Lone Soldier, and Combat Medic turned Stay-at-Home Mama. After Oct. 7, she became an Army wife, as her husband served in and around Gaza for five months. She lives in Dolev with her husband, their three kids, and their undisciplined dog, Gavna. She writes about the trials, victories, and daily life amidst the on going conflict.
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