Trauma and Healing


“Arise, cry aloud in the night! …Pour out your heart like water before the presence of God! …See, God, and look! …Should priest and prophet be slain in the sanctuary of God?  On the ground in the streets lie young and old; young men and young women, have fallen by the sword” (Lamentations 2:19-21)

This year on Tish’a B’Av we feel even more keenly the pain of these ancient words.  In these last months, we have seen indeed seen priest and prophet slain, young and old taken from us by acts of horrific violence.  These tragic events have of course devastated the families and friends of those who have died, but as with the events we recall on Tish’a B’Av, they have also deeply affected us as a community.  Like the ancients, even those of us without personal connections to the those who have been lost feel the trauma of their deaths.  We call out to God, we cry out with pleas and challenges, and we feel despair when we imagine the future of a world in which such things could happen.

Tish’a B’Av calls us to come together, to share our trauma and our despair, and to draw strength from each other so that we can dare to hope again.  This year we are privileged to have a guide in Bobbi Breitman, who will speak on Saturday night about trauma and finding a path to healing.  And we have the words of our prayers, the keening cries of the book of Lamentations, and the kinot, the liturgical poems of mourning, to help us give words to our feelings.  May we together go from darkness to light.