It is late Friday afternoon. 364 days ago, blissfully unaware of the awful events that would take place the next morning, I went to welcome the Sabbath Queen with joyous music, resounding off the walls, floor and ceiling of the lobby of my synagogue. You can read the story of that night, and the day and month that followed, in my earlier post “Sitting In the Valley of Tears.”
That night, October 26th, 2018, I imagined that the words of Lecha Dodi could heal a soul broken by unimaginable horror, unable to reintegrate despite years of distance from the event. In the year since I have had occasion to wonder whether I myself don’t find them to be mocking me.
And so I share these words with you now. I am beginning to feel I can sing again, and someday soon they will have music. They hurt me to write, they are a chore to read and a burden to sing, but the song must be written and sung. May they serve you well, and may they help to strengthen the memories of my 11 friends and neighbors.
“You have sat long enough in the vale of tears;
God will have compassion on you.”
We have sat too long in the vale of tears.
God will have compassion on us.
Sadness is a valley, crying a wide rift
And the rift of our tears is still deep
The wound is open, the soul injured
Who can say now we have sat long enough?
In a moment of haste You hid Your face
And in that same moment everything changed
With eternal lovingkindness reveal Your mercyThen we will no longer sit in the vale of tears.
רב לך שבת בעמק הבכא
והוא יחמול עלייך חמלה
רב לנו שבת בעמק הבכא
והוא יחמול עלינו חמלה
הצער הוא עמק, הבכי הוא בקעה
ובקעת דמעותינו עוד עמוקה
הפצע הוא פתוח, הנפש פגועה
ומי יגיד עכשיו שרב לשבת בה?
שצף קצף הסתרת פניך
ובאותו הרגע הכל כבר השתנה
בחסד עולם גלה רחמיך
ולא נשב יותר בעמק הבכא