You only see when you hear.

“July, 1967…I have discovered a new land. Israel is not the same as before. There is great astonishment in the souls. It is as if the prophets had risen from their graves. Their words ring in a new way. Jerusalem is everywhere, she hovers over the whole country. There is a new radiance, a new awe.
The great quality of a miracle is not in its being an unexpected, unbelieved event in which the presence of the holy bursts forth, but in its happening to human beings who are profoundly astonished at such an outburst. My astonishment is mixed with anxiety. Am I worthy? Am I able to appreciate the marvel?

I did not enter on my own the city of Jerusalem. Streams of endless craving, clinging, dreaming, flowing day and night, mights, years, decades, centuries, millennia, streams of tears, pledging, waiting = from all over the world, from all corners of the earth – carried us of this generation to The Wall. My ancestors could only dream of you – to my people in Auschwitz you were more remote than the moon, and I can touch your stones! Am I worthy? How shall I ever repay for these moments?
The martyrs of all ages are sitting at the gates of heaven, having refused to enter the world to come lest they forget Israel’s pledge given in and for this world:

If I forget you, O Jerusalem
let my right hand wither.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you
if I do not set Jerusalem
above my highest joys.
                                                                                                     Psalm 137
They would rather be without heaven than forget the glory of Jerusalem. From time to time their souls would leave the gates of heaven to go on a pilgrimage to the souls of the Jewish people, reminding them that God himself is in exile, that He will not enter heavenly Jerusalem until his people Israel will enter Jerusalem here.
Jerusalem! I always try to see the inner force that emanates from you, enveloping and transcending all the weariness and travail. I try to use my eyes, and there is a cloud. Is Jerusalem higher than the road I walk on? Does she hover in the air above me? No, in Jerusalem past is present, and heaven is almost here. For an instant I am near to Hillel, who is close by. All of our history is within reach. 
Jerusalem, you only see her when you hear. 
She has been an ear when no one else heard, and ear open to prophets denunciations, to prophets consolations, to the lamentations of ages, to the hopes of countless sages and saints; and ear to prayer flowing from distant places. And she is more than an ear.
Jerusalem is a witness. An echo of eternity. Stand still and listen. We know Isaiah’s voice from hearsay, yet these stones heard him when he said… (2 : 2-4)

It shall come to pass in the latter days…
For out of Zion shall go forth Torah,
and the word of The Lord from Jerusalem…
And he shall judge between nations,
and shall decide for many peoples…
Nation shall not lift of sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.

Jerusalem was stopped in the middle of her speech. She is a voice interrupted. Let Jerusalem speak again to our people, to all people…
What is the secret of Jerusalem? Her past is a prelude.
Her power is in reviving. Here silence is prediction, the walls are in suspense…
This is a city never indifferent to the sky. The evenings often feel like Kol Nidre nights. Unheard music, transfiguring thoughts. Prayers are vibrant. The Sabbath finds it hard to go away… 
Jerusalem has the look of a place that is looked at… “The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year” (Deuteronomy 11:12). Psalms inhabit the hills, the air is hallelujah. Hidden harps. Dormant songs. “

[Excerpt from Israel: An Echo of Eternity, A.J. Heschel]


the little prince.

”  ‘The stars are beautiful because of a flower one cannot see…’
I replied, ‘Of course’ and I looked at the sand dunes under the moonlight in silence.
‘The desert is beautiful,’ he added…
And it was true. I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet one can feel a silent radiation.
‘What makes the desert so beautiful,’ said the Little Prince, ‘is that it hides a well somewhere.’  “

“I raised the bucket to his lips. He drank with his eyes closed. It was as sweet as a festival treat. This water was something entirely different from ordinary nourishment. It was born from the walk under the stars, the singing of the pulley and the effort of my arms. It was good for the heart, like a gift.”  

“It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” 

{this moment}

{this moment} A friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment i want to pause, savor, and remember. 

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments section for all to find and see.

Between the lines.

“Learning is what you do with knowledge that already exists, seeking is what you do for the truth.” – Rabbi M. Feuer





“All that is thought should not be said, all that is said should not be written, all that is written should not be published, all that is published should not be read.” – The Kotzker Rebbe


A little bit of life through my eyes…

[afternoon sun]
[jerusalem stones]
[looking up]
[nachlaot graffiti]
[stones and sun]
[shirat devorah girls in the light]
[desert at sunrise]

Some Rosh Hashana Impressions.
I close my eyes and all I see is white. I hear the voices rise up around me and form one, whole voice which then settles down into my core, sending reverberations through my whole body. The melody is haunting, slow, intentional. Coming from that same core place in all those around me. We let out this voice, our voice, a call in hopes of drawing closer. To what? To the divine infinite all around us, to each other, to ourselves. A harmony of yearning.
“I called out from the narrows and you answered me with expansiveness.”
And then, silence. Heads bowed. Waiting. Trembling. The shofar sounds, sending shock waves through each member of the congregation until it reaches every corner of the room. The sound travels through us, now one whole, like a wave. Shattering our false pretenses, our exterior shells, exposing our truest selves. We continue to listen, awaken, return to. Surrender to that which is so much greater than ourselves. I hear tears rolling down the cheek of my neighbor. I am still.
When my eyes open, I can finally see. Despite my exhaustion, I am being pulled upward. Growing and shrinking at once, transcending my physical limitations.
And the singing brings me back. This time joyous. The Torah, our ancient and timeless truths all wrapped into one scroll, is carried through the crowd. Our most precious possession. When it reaches the women, the tears start again. But this time I can see them. In my eyes and the eyes of all those around me. Gratitude. Awe. Devotion. All shared. Women dance in the aisle with their infants, grasp hands and sing with their neighbors. The majestic head coverings crowing each woman glisten in the sunlight that shines through the windows. The vision is both ancient and futuristic at once. I close my eyes again and all that I breathe in is light.