Three runaways for a mourning at the Western Wall

First runaway: In front of the Holy Sepulcher, the first ray of sunshine of the day appears after a biblical storm, in the old city of Jerusalem. Natascha tells me she’s already seen the tumb of Jesus Christ which is also my case. I decide to stay with her outside to smoke a cigarette. Her face reminds me of someone close to me. – “You would not come from Krakow by any chance? – « I actually do, how do you know?” “-” This person I know who looks like you tells me that her family descends from a former king of Poland. “-” My grandfather also told me the same story when I was young ! ”

Second runaway: At Yad Vashem, she offers me this time to have a drink, at the cafeteria of the memorial. Again, we’ve already seen the museum. Both our families were in Lyon during the war, mine was saved by priests, hers reached Switzerland. We talk about the likely success of Tinder in this place and leave in a laugh before finding the delegation in tears for much better reasons than ours.

Third runaway: Last day, Natascha who’s already seen Masada offers to stay for the 3rd time. I get off the bus and we go brunch on the hotel rooftop before spending the day at the beach and leaving for the airport. Like me, she lost her father who was a famous political journalist and her mom writes biographies. Her plane is in another terminal, but she is early and accompanies me to mine. She takes me in her arms and thanks me for making her stay more pleasant. I’m sad and wave to her.

One mourning: In Paris, I listen to the replay of Naomi Shemer by Ofra Haza, and collapse in tears, thinking back to the word that I left in the Western Wall for the second time: “I would have liked so much to do this trip with my father. ” He committed suicide on the 6th of November 1982, after the massacres of Sabra and Chatila, when I was 2 years old. The couple he formed with my mother was on the wane. He encouraged her to go on a press trip to Tahiti where she had a relationship with the father of this half-sister who looks so much like Natascha. They met again 25 years later to finally live together in Patmos, where Saint John wrote the Apocalypse, in Greece, until today. These tears were those of my father but also those of the Temple. The Talmud, says the Second Temple of Jerusalem, was destroyed by the tears of a man left by his wife for one of his employees, who caused a flood and buried the holy of holies, on 9 Av, the most sad day of the year by Tisha Beav (Guitin).

It will have taken us three runaways to mourn the Western Wall.

About the Author
Alexandre Gilbert is the director of the Chappe gallery since 2005. He lives and works in Paris.
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