Leann Shamash
Author of the blog Words Have Wings

It’s OK to Cry

It's OK to Cry

Someone I know posted on his Facebook feed this morning that today is October 78, 2023, which is exactly how these past few months have felt to me and perhaps to you.It feels like October 7, 2023 was so long ago and since then the world has changed for all of us in incalculable ways.

In Parshat Vayigash the emotions that Joseph had internalized for so many years emerge as loud weeping when he talks to his brother Yehudah about his father and younger brother, Benjamin. At this moment Joseph cries out and bursts into loud crying. Who knows what was in Joseph’s heart at this moment? Deeply buried memories of his childhood, which left him scarred for years? Memories of his father and his younger brother? Memories of deception and cruelty? Or perhaps it was as Joseph believed, that God had indeed placed him in Egypt for a reason.

We weep when words no longer work.

I see a parallel to Yosef weeping in the current situation. The emotions in Israel and in the Diaspora have been overwhelming since the 7th of October. We can sometimes only weep to release the emotions which we carry so heavy inside. Joseph, it is ok to cry and  is ok for us to cry, too. Some of us may consider it a weakness to shed tears, but in times of overwhelming emotion, tears are the soothing balm we all need.

It’s OK to Cry

It’s ok to cry

when words fail

and emotions run deep.

When the walls are too high

and expectations are impossible.

It’s ok to cry when that forever moment finally arrives.

Tears of joy and of sorrow.

A thousand hurts, each a tiny spear;

a thousand words cannot equal a single tear.

It’s ok to cry, for lost moments that are mourned

and people who seem forever away.

We weep for the missing.

For fathers, mothers, daughters and sons.

Those we know and those we don’t.

Cry when you are finally reunited

or when it feels like you will never meet again.

It’s ok to cry.


Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone withdraw from me!” So there was no one else about when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. His sobs were so loud that the Egyptians could hear, and so the news reached Pharaoh’s palace. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still well?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dumbfounded were they on account of him.

                                         Genesis 45:1-3

About the Author
After a career in Jewish education, Leann Shamash is the author of the blog Words Have Wings, which addresses the parsha of the week through poetry.
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