Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Reverberation of Grief

Yesterday was a terrible day. In our immediate area there are four yishuvim (small towns). There was a funeral in each and every one of them yesterday. In Efrat, Alon Shvut and Elazar, the people buried members of their communities who were killed in a terrible head-on collision. Here in Neve Daniel we buried a 43 year old man who died just after arriving in Israel with his wife and triplets to pursue their dream of Aliyah.

It was one of those days that makes you tired to be alive….where you have knots in your stomach all day, trying to come up for air where there doesn’t seem to be any.

While I was thinking about these four people yesterday, none of whom I knew personally, I was trying to put into words what was making me so very sad. I never had the honor of meeting any of the deceased, so what was I so depressed about?

I came to a conclusion for myself, and then read a similar explanation in the evening from my dear friend Ruti Mizrachi that validated my hypothesis. Most people have a community of family and friends that is quite small. If there is a car accident on Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles or on 355 in Maryland, you don’t usually sit by the computer screen praying that the names won’t be ones you know. The chances are slim that they will be.

Here, however, our collective community is so tight-knit and symbiotic, that you know, as you check for those names, that even if you don’t personally end up recognizing one of them, your co-workers will and your neighbors might.

The benefits of living a life like ours are innumerable. The price we pay for membership to such a club, however, is collective and unadulterated pain when something happens in the area. And there are thousands of people here in Gush Etzion, which means that the pain of a three person car accident and the untimely death of one father reverberates far beyond what one would normally expect.

Four people died…none of whom I knew…and yet everyone I know in Neve Daniel was mourning yesterday; everyone I know at work from Alon Shvut was grieving; everyone I spoke to in the evening from Efrat was distraught.

The collective bond that we share as we build our lives here together is powerful and radiant; but it also means that the collective grief is searing and poignant beyond words.

May the families be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may we know only happy times ahead.

3 comments:

  1. Amen. Beautifully and poignantly said, my friend. And as much as it hurts sometimes to be this closely-knit, we wouldn't trade it for all the emotional buffer-zone in the world, would we?

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  2. Thank you for putting into words what I have been feeling...even though a world away. While I grew up with the wife of the young father who died...I never met him. My heart aches for all of them. I am so glad they found a community that is a family.

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  3. Ironic isn't it? Your post + Ruti's post have been expressions most of us have been feeling. Connected as we are, though we did not know those that passed on, have weeped for the sense of loss, as if it were our own, which it is.

    May we conitnue on in simcha. Thank YOU for sharing.

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