Areyah Kaltmann

G-d, we need our mother! A prayer for Yom Hazikaron

This Sunday May 12 is Israeli Memorial Day. (Image credit: Chabad Columbus)

Elokeinh V’Elokei Avosaynu – Our G-d and G-d of our ancestors.

On October the 7th, our people were attacked. A relentless bombardment of rockets, homes decimated, our husbands, wives, parents and children taken captive, and our brave soldiers hunted down and maimed.

“In each and every generation the nations of the world rise up against us to attempt to destroy us.” These timeless words are found in the Passover Haggadah in the Vehi Sheamda. The famous passage ends with: “But the Holy one – Hakadosh Baruch Hu – Matzilenu Miyadam – saves us from them ”

This eternal prayer gives hope and inspiration to many, who fully trust and look forward to the divine deliverance from our enemies who seek to destroy us.

But many still ask “G-d, how can your people find comfort when we still have not fully grieved?” Caught in seven months of intense battle and global condemnation. G-d, Your people are in such a state of shock that we can’t even fully express the depths of their pain.

The answer lies once again in the haggadah. We read about the four sons. The wise, wicked, simple and a fourth son who can’t even ask a question, He simply can’t even open up his mouth. Why can’t he speak?

This son is shell-shocked, silenced and muted by the cruelty of his enemy.

Dear G-d, let us learn the lesson found in the answer to the child who doesn’t know how to ask a question. The Haggadah states “At Petach Lo,” — You must open up the conversation and explain to him that “God took us out of Egypt.”

This phrasing “At Petach Lo,” is in the feminine Hebrew construction, meaning that a female, feminine figure is the one who should speak to this child.

The silent, shell-shocked, sensitive child doesn’t need a stern father, a punishing parent or even a superhero to explain things to him. This son needs a loving and caring mother. A nurturing feminine figure who is sensitive to his needs.

G-d, we have suffered. The 133 hostages in Gaza have suffered unimaginably, as have their relatives and all those who pray for them daily. We can’t understand why. But in order for us to heal and progress, it’s time for us to have a nurturing mother.

My father, a Holocaust survivor who went through seven concentration camps, told me on many occasions that more than anyone else, the person he yearned to be reunited with was his mother.

Because nothing is stronger than the embrace of a mother. Much like the fact that a ship that is anchored deep can withstand the highest, most-violent waves, the one who feels their mother’s embrace can withstand even the most turbulent of situations. As it is written in the psalms, “he who has trust and loves HaShem shall be granted kindness and compassion.”

HaShem, grant us peace and love on this Yom Hazikaron, this day of memory. May the loving embrace of a mother come down upon each of us like the Shechina – the divine feminine presence which occupied and permeated the Holy temple in Jerusalem.

Our people have endured much, and with the help of G-d’s divine feminine energy, may everyone here be granted the inner strength and love to help us heal our collective traumas and pains both from the current conflict and from the entire history of our people’s exile.

Dear G-d, Hug us, protect us, smother us with your all-encompassing love, and bring Mashiach once and for all to redeem us, bring an end to all wars, and reunite us with our family back in Jerusalem.

May the one who makes peace in heaven, bring peace upon us and all the people of Israel.

Oseh Shalom Bimromav Hu Yaaseh Shalom Aleinu Veal Kol Yisrael

Veimru Amen

About the Author
Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann is the Director of Chabad Columbus at the Lori Schottenstein Chabad Center. For over three decades, Rabbi Kaltmann and his wife Esther have put their heart and soul into serving the Columbus Jewish community. In addition to directing Chabad Columbus, the Rabbi and his family also operate LifeTown Columbus — which teaches essential life skills to more than 2,100 Ohio students with special needs in a 5,000-square-foot miniature city, Kitchen of Life — which fosters social-emotional skills for young people through culinary arts, Friendship Circle Columbus, the Jewish Business Network, and dozens of other programs. Areyah and Esther have adult children who serve Chabad of Downtown Columbus, oversee Chabad’s many programs and enthusiastically serve people throughout the state.
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