Tisha B'Av

You now enter the fires.
Memories wake. Of destruction, flames, people scattering.
And the name of God,
El Roei,
One Who sees, rises in your soul.


El Roei, One of Vision,
aid me unveil that I might weep.

For dreams lost and hopes shattered,
houses burned and souls extinguished,
before their time.



El Roei, One of Sight, uncover my heart
that I might weep.

For that which shone, transporting souls, now lying in ashes,
for that which birthed healing, now destroyed, in ruins.
That within the world of space, that within myself,
that now lies desolute.

El Roei, You Who see,
come, travel with me, 

down into the depths.
For You can see the shadowy places.


They are there, I can feel them.
All my ancestors live in me.

I can feel them in the pulsing of my blood,
in the beating of my heart.

Each ninth of Av they call to me,
crooning in the night alongside the jackals.

The young men slain, the babies starved,
the women raped and killed.
I see their bodies in the moonlight.
Flickering inside me.

El Roei, can You see them too?

They join and merge with all else that has died in my life. 
Dear ones,
hopes still-born,
dreams dashed. 
All flow into one long blue river of tears.

We float together holding hands.

frank-tishabav-yllwflrSo come to me, El Roei,
and show me a vision.

Of the seed You embedded in this day,
carried in whispers,
as the light dims.

For in this day
also lies
an opening.

They say on this day Meshiach will be born.

That on this day of grief, sorrow will be transformed
to heightened joy.
Wounds will be healed,
and all will come together.

frank-tishabav-sunsetEl Roei, One of Vision, open a window for me

that I might take a brief glance,
and glimpse
the glorious light
of all flowing into one melody,
all opposing forces joining hands,
the lion curled round the lamb.

May I hear voices of joy and gladness,
the songs of lovers,
sounds of feasting and singing,
resounding from all corners of the earth.

And may I gaze upon all gleaming and restored,
all healed, all whole, all

bring me back, El Roei, You Who knows the whole.

Wipe my eyes, and sing hope into my bones.

Stir the setting sun, lay a soft cloak round my shoulders that
I might sleep and dream my dreams.

So on awakening,
I will see more keenly than before.

frank-sukkot-grapes-1El Roei, You Who witness all,
walk beside me.

As I prune my vines,
and stride the hills,
and smell the earth's fragrances,
and weep my tears
into fertile soil.



Walk with me,

as I turn towards the sun's face for strength,
and step forward into the day,
and cut my grapes
to crush to wine.

El Roei,  Seer of Visions,
stand with me as I walk this moon of Av.

As I walk,  stand with me.
You Who see it all.



Photography Credits

First photograph: Vicki Hollander
Second photograph: Leonid Rozenfeld
Third, fourth and fifth photograph: Frank Dobrushken