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When I Heard of Your Passing

When I Heard of Your Passing

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My mother lights two Shabbat candles, my father blesses the bread and wine, and as I stare into the candles’ eye, I wonder tonight why do they seem to cry.

My mother’s tears find her dress; my father’s find his chest. A somber silence slides between the chairs; I wonder where the angels are tonight—or do they weep as well?

The food is warm, unnoticed, as our hearts are cold; my father barely eats, so unlike the joy beheld on a weekly Shabbat eve. As he stands to read the evening Shema, I watch the tears he weeps without shame; when he gets to the mitzvah of loving Hashem, I think I start to hear him sing—louder than before.

We watch the shiva flame burn for those we did not know but knew so deeply within our souls, as every Jewish soul is connected to the other by the spark of life breathed inside from Hashem. The covered mirrors cannot cover our grief; but as the second Shabbat dawns I see the angels once again lead my father home.

My mother lights the candles, my father does the bread and wine. I hear them praying for those who have no homes, I see a knowing in their eyes. In the days that come my family increase their giving. I see our community move as one I wonder at it all, the spark of life, the life of a Jew, and conclude that this is the way of a Jew, the way of sacrificing love for peace; and I wonder at the worlds denial. We serve this world willingly and yet with lives priceless we pay the price, for this is the way of a Jew—and yet I cannot help but wonder at it all.

Aliyah is a twenty-six-year old trauma counselor, currently completing her masters degree in Counseling Therapy. She lives with her husband in the wonderful city of Cape Town in South Africa.
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