Hebrew alphabel
Hebrew alphabelIstock

‘“The days are melting into short periods and moments

I don’t know myself anymore, all of my bearings lost

I thought I saw the world for what it really was

But its arrival torments me, and yet

…The wind is blowing East from laughters…

I sway in another way

And I’m a sleepwalker

My dream becomes silence, and I wander

around without it

The doubts of an incredulous person are getting

lost into the night…” (Somnambule, Coeur de Pirate)


We have now concluded the mourning of Tisha B’av. The night on which we ask “Eicha”?

Over a week has passed since then.

Each year at this time, we ask, as if experiencing destruction and desolation for the first time, as if we had not already experienced this in the history of the Jewish people, of mankind. “Eicha?!” “How is it possible?”

This year in particular, as Tisha B’av coincided with armed threat to our country, as prayers coincided with the sound of missiles and sirens, we found ourselves asking, “Eicha?”


And perhaps, that question itself reflects the great beauty, the spirit of glory, of righteousness, of holiness, that lies within us. Our soul which is speaking, reminding us.

There is something within us that refuses to accept our human condition, refuses to accept tragedy. The existence of evil, of madness. We refuse to come to terms with this reality. We find it to be just unacceptable, meaningless.

Somewhere within, there is a call, a direction, a knowledge of what could be, what should be. And we refuse to accept the alternative.

We know that life could be otherwise. That we, as Man, are meant to be otherwise. That we are capable of a different fate. A fate of beauty, of goodness, of creation, of Life.

Av begins as the month of great sadness and despair. The month of Tisha B’av, the month of national mourning.

But it is also the month of great joy. The month of Tu B’av, of love and happiness, of sunshine and hope.

How do we go so quickly from despair to joy, from the one to its opposite?

We may find an answer in the nature of the month itself. The month of Av is the fifth month, according to the Torah.

This is the month in which God comforts His people. Lamentation is transformed into joy, and it is therefore a time in which the Divine Presence touches our lives so clearly as to be almost palpable.

As the five fingers of a hand.

As a fifth dimension which exists in addition to the four physical dimensions.

This month corresponds to the letter ‘hey’ (the fifth letter) of the Hebrew alphabet. The shape of the letter conveys its symbolic essence. The letter hey is composed of a dalet and a yud. The dalet symbolizes the four directions, whereas the yud symbolizes spirituality.

Hey represents the breath of the Creator, the essence of Life. ”By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6-8)

According to tradition, God created this world with the letter hey and the World to Come with the letter yud. (Menachot 29b)

In the month of Av, we ask God to feel His Presence, and we in turn are asked to contribute ours. We are partners to God in Creation, in the outcomes of Life.

On Tisha B’av we ask each year anew “Eicha?”

We ask of God, where are You?

And somewhere, within, we hear a voice asking us the same question. A question heard once before, in the Garden of Eden. ‘Ayeka?’

“And the Lord God called to the man, and said to him ‘Where are you?’ “(Genesis 3:9)

A universal call. A universal question.

“…In the silence of my nights

I can hear a distant voice

Someone out there is calling my name” (Amen, Enigma)

May our moral outrage never cease. May we continue always to encounter destruction, tragedy, agony, with the question of How?! Why?! What?!

And may we find comfort in the answer. Our answer to God, as His answer to us, “Hineni".

We have just witnessed a miracle. As Divine protection extended above our Nation, the actions of our valiant army were blessed, and threat dissipated at the close of Tisha B’av.


“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble…

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her when morning dawns.” (Psalm 46: 1-5)

As sleepwalkers, we wandered about in the night, waiting for the morning.

And now as day breaks, rather than ask a question of the night, we will ask it of the day. Now that light has chased away the darkness, now what?

May our dreams never get lost in the night.

There is a touch of Heaven here on earth, waiting to be expressed.

What impossibilities will become possible, today?


Dr. Devorah Ungar is an American-born scientist and musician.who moved to Israel 30 years ago.