Vicki Cabot

No words. . .

Night sky, morning comes
After night, morning comes (image courtesy of author)

And so I wait.

There are no words.
Only anger, anguish, grief.
And then there are too many.

They tumble out like so many seeds, pits, stones.
Devastating stories, grisly images, fueling fury and blame, one upon the other, layer upon layer of horror and disbelief.

But my words escape me, the heaviness of my heart stanching their flow.

The war goes on, desolation deepens, it is not just words but numbers to recount.
How many days have passed?
How many hostages still captive?
How many soldiers dead?
How many victims who suffer or succumb to war’s ravages?

And so I remain silent, consumed by my anger, my angst.

And I ask.
How long, GD, will war wage?
How long, and how much, how many?
How long and how to keep my faith, sustain my hope that this will end, that there is an end?
And a beginning.

I seek out the comfort of a shul, a communal rally, a crowded Shabbat table. The chanting in ancient Hebrew speaks to me, the company and shared pain of friends and neighbors is a balm, the familiar rituals of the Sabbath offer some solace.

Still suffused with despair, there is a glimmer of hope, and the words come, slowly.

I find refuge in the wisdom of our tradition, its calendar that rounds our years and orders our days, its stories infused with meaning, its words imbued with power entreating us to choose life, to trust, to know that after nightfall, even in our darkest hours, morning comes.

And so, even on that deadly day October 7, Simchat Torah, we joyously danced with the Torah, even as our hearts ached. On Purim we made merry as we recounted Queen Esther’s courage and the foiling of the evil Haman’s plot to destroy the Jewish people, even as Israel wars valiantly against those who seek to eradicate it, and we look toward Pesach with its story of divine intervention and miraculous redemption, the Red Sea parting, the ancient Hebrews wending their way toward the Promised Land.

Perhaps it is the depth of pain that stills my voice, the depth of hatred, the depth of barbarity, the angry protest, the strident diatribe, the depth of death and destruction that causes me to look away, to remain silent.

But our tradition teaches us to look, to see, to hear, and to listen.
To seek out what is good, and right, and merciful.
And to do.

And so, a few words to share, in unwavering support of Israel, even as I mourn the loss of life, the trauma of the heinous attack, the hunger and thirst of far too many, but mostly our inability to see each other, to hear each other’s stories, to find a way to live with our neighbors, to look and to listen, to walk in peace, and to aspire to a time when war is no more.

These are my words.
These are my hopes and prayers.
May it be so.

About the Author
A writer and editor, Vicki has been recognized for excellence by the American Jewish Press Association, Arizona Press Club and Arizona Press Women. Her byline has appeared for more than 30 years in Jewish News of Greater Phoenix and in a variety of other publications. A Wexner Heritage Scholar, she holds masters degrees in communications and religious studies from Arizona State University and a Ph.D in religious studies also from ASU.
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