The Cracks That Divide Us: A Poem on Fallen Rock

The day after Tisha B’Av
an ancient stone broke free from the Kotel
and crashed down on the platform below,
missing a solitary worshiper
by a few meters.

The dust had not settled before
the speculations arose.

Was it dislodged in Divine protest
of the breakdown of tradition,
or of the stringent upholding of it?

Was the warning against
those who dare sully the sanctity
of a Jewish holy site
with their women in prayer shawls,
calling to dislodge
the ancient structures
of stricture?

Or was it against those who
desecrate God’s name with their
black-and-white uniformity
entrenched in inequality
and standing rigid
in their backward ways?

is the Buraq Wall itself
throwing its own stones at those who threaten
to tear down Al-Aqsa
and rebuild their Temple on the ruins?

Or did the wall start crumbling
to illustrate that if they don’t hasten
to do exactly that–
the walls will do it themselves?

Jerusalem lies
along a fault line,
a great rift that stretches from Lebanon
down the east edge of Africa;
the crust of the earth is splintered
beneath our feet,
and each movement deepens
the cracks that divide us,
and experts say we are long overdue
for a devastating earthquake.

Maybe the stone was shaken loose
by recent tremors in the Galilee.

Or maybe by
the reverberation of fifty thousand cracking voices
rising from dry throats the night before,
singing of unity, faith, and redemption
shaking the foundations and the firmament.

The Israel Antiquities Authority says that
maybe it was because of
something growing in the cracks,
or entrapped moisture that
slowly wore down the rock.

There are people with hearts of stone,
writes Yossi Gamzu,
and stones with hearts of people;
what is it,
that causes these things
to break?

Only God knows.

Maybe that we
are even asking the question.

About the Author
Daniella Levy is a mother of three, rabbi's wife, writer, translator, self-defense instructor, bridal counselor, black belt in karate, and certified medical clown — and she still can't decide what to be when she grows up. She is the author of By Light of Hidden Candles and Letters to Josep: An Introduction to Judaism, and her short fiction, articles, and poetry — in English, Hebrew, and Spanish — have been published in numerous magazines, journals, anthologies, and media platforms. Born in the USA, she immigrated to Israel with her family as a child, and currently lives at the edge of the Judean Desert with her husband and three sons. Learn more about her at
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