It captured me in a quick rapture and slowly penetrated my soul. This was the second Yom Kippur I spent in Eretz Yisrael and silence is the only thing left in me to say….
To the untrained eye, Jerusalem looks, feels and sounds like a city in a deep slumber, heavy eyelids weigh on the concrete and the echo of the wind like the lungs
But I know in this silence there is grumble for life, a prayer of the heart and yearning for serenity. The Israeli mind shifted thirty-seven years ago, when silence was suddenly distrubted by bombs. Glaring red lights and screams around, many were lost. A friend of mine told me that he won’t fast on Yom Kippur anymore. He left that with God buried at the border of Sinai with his friends as he watched their last wind blow through them.
Now there is a movement in that silence, whether it be from the children racing down the barren streets on scooters and bikes, or from the dogs playing fetch freely or possibly the thousands pacing, socializing, meditating; this silence is not still.
My eyes were weary with exhaustion and hunger and the brightness of the white wore me down. I knew nor I or “them” were as pure as we looked and the “white lie” we demonstrated was our tradition to rid us of the impurities we carry. I fasted this year to cleanse my soul, to inflict pain onto myself as I remember the pain I inflicted willingly and/or unknowingly to others. Beyond all the smiles and the white garb, I know that “their” struggles were the same internal conflicts as mine. And beneath the silence there was grumble. The sky was split into two and slowly I watched the voices of silence fade and the city noise return with the final sounding of the Shofar. And once closed the eruption of hungry boiled over and the silence was gone amoung the chitter-chatter of daily life. I know next year, I will yearn for that subtle silence that is all knowing and never forgetting. That is our collective memory and another white shirt day for me.