Archive for the 'Sadness' Category


Reactions to the shooting

Last night, upon hearing about the horrific terrorist attack (is there any other kind?), I changed my Facebook status to “Ilan is mourning the victims of the terror attack.” this morning, I changed it to “Ilan woke up and realized it wasn’t all just a bad dream. Sometimes, it isn’t.”
This is one of the things we do. Our generation posts the thoughts off the top of our heads in short, concise bits, so our friends know. So, I compiled a list of my friends’ reactions to the shooting last night, as posted in their Facebook status updates. I thought it might be worth sharing these. Feel free to post more in the comments. I will update this post if more come in.
Note that the names are removed to protect privacy, but with a few exceptions, each of these is from a different person:

  • _____ is very angry because of the מצב.
  • _____ is thinking of everyone by Merkaz Harav.
  • _____ thinks its important to still go out tonight. Who’s with me?
  • _____ had been remembering another terrorist attack today, and now this.
  • _____ is feeling a bit numb after hearing the news.
  • _____’s family is all safe.
  • _____ is mad, angry, frustrated, and at a loss. I hate our government!
  • _____ is sad.
  • _____ is welcoming in Adar, and mourning for Jerusalem.
  • _____ is ok.
  • _____ feels transported back to Jerusalem, circa 2001.
  • _____ is wondering how long the Israeli government is going to keep trying to make peace with our enemies instead of throwing them out of Israel!
  • _____ is safe after the terrorist attack, and is sad…………….
  • _____ May Hashem Avenge their Blood.
  • _____ is falling asleep to a lullaby of ambulance sirens.
  • _____ is in pain for her nation.
  • _____ is not able to comprehend.
  • _____ is השם ינקום דמם.
  • _____ is playing david broza to get some clarity.
  • _____ is praying for those hurt by the terrorists in Israel today.
  • _____ is wondering when the terrorism will end… just horrible news…
  • _____ is crying to hashem..
  • _____ weeps for the children who have returned to borders breached by what the universe must be given.
  • _____ is sad and can’t fall asleep. may Hashem avenge their blood.
  • _____ is trying to comprehend how it happened.
  • _____ is wondering why she’s in america.
  • _____ decries the cowardly Jihadist attack on Mercaz HaRav.
  • _____ is waiting for the requisite post-bombing UN cycle of violence statement.
  • _____ Can’t believe what happened tonight. I was scared for the first time EVER to walk around Jerusalem. What is going on here? Anyone in charge here????
  • _____ is excited about [statement of hatred deleted] in the powerful month of Adar Bet. HaShem Yinakem Dmam.
  • _____ is deeply saddened by the shooting in the Jerusalem yeshiva and is disgusted by others rejoicing this.
  • _____ is really upset by the tragic events in Yerushalayim today. Hashem yerachem.
  • _____ is literally sick from looking at the news.
  • _____ is very sad.
  • _____ doesn’t understand why the government is so incompetent.
  • _____ על אלה אני בוכיה.
  • _____ is hurting. She wishes a Shabbat Shalom of Geulah Slemah for ALL KLAL YISREAL!
  • _____ is upset over today’s events.
  • _____ Yochai Lipschitz, 18, of Jerusalem; Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar, 16, of Shiloh; Yonadav Chaim Hirschfeld, 19, of Kochav Hashahar; Neriah Cohen, 15, of Jerusalem, Roe.
  • _____ is wondering what G-D is trying to hint to us on this fateful rosh chodesh adar – that itself is a contradiction in terms!
  • _____ is shocked and sad at the murder of 8 young yeshivah students in Jerusalem by an Arab terrorist. Jews, wake up!!!
  • _____ is looking forward to Shabbat Across America-Together, while Shabbating in Jerusalem, blocks from Yashiva Mercaz HaRav, where 8 Souls were taken from this World.
  • _____ is still trying to comprehend…
  • _____ is mourning with the families.
  • _____ simply has no words.
  • _____ is looking to a peaceful healing shabbat for all of am yisrael…
  • _____: May God protect Israel, since our government certainly can’t.
  • _____ hopes shab will make things better. why dont they get it?!
  • _____ is trying to balance simcha and etzev…
  • _____ is המקום יינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון השם ינקום דמם.


Tonight, a man walked into a yeshiva here in Jerusalem, and shot and killed 8 people, 7 of them teenagers, and wounding dozens of others, 11 of them seriously. They were celebrating the first day of Adar Bet, the happiest month of the year. I don’t have more to say. What can I say? I can remember the fallen, but frankly, that just isn’t enough right now. When there’s a real hurt, a physical pain in the pit of my stomach from this…bedlam, then all of the pretty words or high-minded ideals don’t help. It’s just, sometimes a thing gets broke, can’t be fixed.

On Mourning

Days until departure: 12
At times, when I’m thinking about some topic, especially when I intend to write something on it, I take notes on my thoughts. Last Tisha B’av, I wrote a bunch of notes on the ideas behind the initial part of the day, before noon. Here’s a brief set of thoughts emerging from those notes, before I have to go back to synagogue to finish up the prayers of the day.

According to the Rav, Tisha B’Av is one of the rare times that we express grief to such a degree, that we actually accuse God of creating our tragedy. It’s generally an unthinkable concept, more brazen than we usually are. Indeed, the first set of kinot (the “wailing” prayers we say on this day) often juxtapose what God did with what it seems he ought to have done. How dare we? The Rav points out that in the beginning of Tisha B’Av, we are like recently bereaved mourners – not even up to the shiva period that starts after burial, but onenim. An onen is one who has recently lost someone, before the deceased is buried. “His deceased is suspended before him,” the saying goes. When it’s that recent, that intense, that visceral, well then the normal rules don’t apply. An onen is exempt from many of the positive commandments, and also it is acceptable for such a person to be downright angry with God. Healing of the mourner’s heart, and of his relationship to an often inscrutable God may take place later, but for now, we let him off the hook.
So in trying to create a feeling of mourning, our sages patterned our customs and liturgy such that we would be like onenim for part of the day. We move on later in the day, but the specter of intense grief haunts us through the rest of the day.

An interesting thought occurred to me a while back. I was reading a book by the renowned psychologist Paul Ekman, called Emotions Revealed. In it, he talks about the concept of an “emotional refractory period.” I don’t have the book handy to quote from, but if my memory serves, the refractory period is when you experience an emotion so intensely that you are temporarily blinded to any information that would contradict that emotion. It is usually a very brief period, varying with intensity of emotion, but it’s qualitatively different from your normal mode of being. Your mind shuts down all access to anything that would lessen the feeling, though I believe it’s usually too brief to have any practical ramifications. It’s a scary thought, but Ekman really knows his stuff. In any case, I can’t help but wonder whether the onen’s permit to indict God comes from an acknowledgement that an onen is in the refractory period of his grief, and therefore cannot be held as entirely responsible for his actions. Thus, he is even permitted an action which would otherwise be blasphemy.