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No Pain Like My Pain

By Rabbi Tamara Cohen
group of people holding hands lifting arms to sky in a sunlit field

(Lamentations 1:12) – for Tisha b'Av 5774/ 2014 

That's how it feels, dear God.
That's how it felt to the lamenters exiled and Temple-shorn.
That's how it feels to each grief-wracked mother, father, sister, son, family, nation.

                                                                                             הביטו וראו אם יש מכאוב כמכאובי
"Look carefully and see if there could possibly be pain like my pain, like the one bestowed by You upon me."

No pain like my pain,
no exile like my exile,
No land my land,
No desolate city like my desolate city.
No heart like my own aching heart.
No fear like the fear of my people.
No genocide like our genocide.
No humanity like our humanity.
No right like our right.
No wrong like their wrong.
No rage like my rage.

No pain like my pain,
immediate and raw and righteous,
ancient and true and etched in our genes by history's injustices.

Dear God, help us look,
look closer so that we may see
our children in their children,
their children in our own.

Help us look so that we may see You –
in the bleary eyes of each orphan, each grieving childless mother,
each masked and camouflaged fighter for his people's dignity.

Dear God, Divine Exiled and Crying One,
Loosen our claim to our own uniqueness.
Soften this hold on our exclusive right – to pain, to compassion, to justice.

May your children, all of us unique and in Your image,
come to know the quiet truths of shared pain,
shared hope,
shared land,
shared humanity,
shared risk,
shared courage,
shared peace.

In Sh'Allah. Ken yehi Ratzon.
May it be Your will.
And may it be ours.

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