D’var Torah: Voices of Israel

By Rabbi David Ariel-Joel

Rabbi David Ariel-Joel

Jews are a people who know very well what to do when the Jews are in trouble. We have a lot of experience in this. Our tradition teaches us that one of the things we need to do in times of trouble is to cry out, to shout, to scream. Maimonides calls it one of the ways of repentance: to scream and not to accept atrocities and terror as the way of the world! This is not a moment of, “it is what it is.” This is a moment when we should awaken ourselves, shout and cry out, and let everyone hear our screams. 

At this overwhelming time in Israel, people are hurting. However, resilience and the power to redeem and recover were found, too.  Among the reactions is poetry, freshly written and translated here.  We know that poetry – everywhere in the world – is a way to reflect, share comforting words, and recover. 

Poetry speaks in ways that regular words do not. Poetry penetrates our souls. These beautiful poems shout and scream, expressing our rage and our sorrow in ways that enter everyone’s souls. I am in awe of the amazing poetry being written these days in Israel and want to share these two amazing poems with our community. 

Sense of loss is not easy, but I hope that together we can provide comfort. 


Kaddish Asaf Gur (Translated by Heather Silverman, Michael Bohnen, Rachel Korazim) 


Yisgadal V’yiskadash Shmei Raba 

And no one came 

Many thousands called Him on Shabbat morning 

Crying His name out loud 

Begging Him with tears just to come 

But He ceases from all His work 

No God came 

And no God calmed 

Only Satan Celebrated uninterrupted 

Dancing between kibbutzim and the slaughter festival 

And our correspondent goes on to report 

All while sobbing 

Saying there is a burnt baby 

And there is an abducted baby 

There is an orphaned baby 

And there is a day-old baby 

Still linked to his mother’s body by the umbilical cord 

He hadn’t even managed to find out his name 

What will be inscribed on the tiny headstone 

With a single date for birth and death 

This is what the kibbutz looks like after Satan’s visit 

Turning the broadcast back to the studio 

Quiet now they are shooting 

They are also launching rockets 

And there is no government 

And there is no mercy 

Just the screaming and the pictures 

That will never leave the mind 

The seventh of October 

Two thousand and twenty three. 




A Good Day Tal Shavit 


I want to manage all the war rooms 

To Mobilize all the supply chains 

I want to take care of all the children  

of all the single mothers 

and those who are gone  

I want to turn myself into protective vests  

for all the fighters 

Turn myself into iron domes over the heads  

of all the girls 

all of them. 

To sustain all the families 

That were evacuated  

That were broken  

That were crushed.  

Return all that is lost  

Bring back all who are kidnapped 

I want to collect all the donations 

and deliver them to their destinations.  

To pass all the messages 

To make all the sandwiches 

To oversee all the efforts  


But on a good day  

I manage  


To Breathe  

To Drink  


To call loved ones.  


On a good day  

I manage  


To cry. 


David Ariel-Joel is Senior Rabbi at The Temple 



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