Ritualwell

Tradition & Innovation

November Shabbat After Pittsburgh

gray scene tree with bare branches and a few light orange leaves
My neighborhood is radiant in its mourning
The trees burst forth
with brilliant crimsons and golds
we waited so long to see
As if to spread a balm
over our weary, broken hearts
 
Today I saw the very face of G-d in the world
I saw it in children with Lollipops happily skipping into services 
I saw it when a woman, a leader in our community, lovingly helped her 97-year-old father, a Holocaust survivor, put on his tallit
I saw it when survivors of a mass shooting and hate crime came up to the Torah for a group Aliyah
I heard it in the voices raised in defiant love and sheer grit
I saw it in the community coming together to celebrate a bride and groom in our midst because it is Shabbat, because a newly married couple is to be celebrated even amidst our grief
because we turn our mourning into dancing
 
My neighborhood is radiant this afternoon in its mourning
Neighbors out strolling, greeting one another with Good Shabbos and Shabbat Shalom
Black hats and kippot mingling with jeans and nose piercings 
People eating and laughing and speaking of love
People praying to God in full-throated ancient melodies
People showing up en masse to stand witness
 
The leaves begin to make their final descent to the earth
like so many bodies we laid to rest this past week before their time
As the trees become barren, the earth reminds us once again to capture these moments
of the cycle in which nature gives us just what we need
This Shabbat looks nothing like last Shabbat
And for today, at least,
it is radiant

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