“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalms 23:4-6).

It is that time of day, between night and day. And a heavy blackness, a heavy silence fills the room. For here in the safe-room, all is dark. Heavy metal covers the window. Upon awakening one knows not if it is now day or night. All is still, and in suspended silence, we are waiting. For Redemption.

Was it only a few weeks ago that we were in the sukkah, our temporary dwelling of safety. Alone under the stars, but for the Presence of He who will protect us now, as then, in our days of dwelling in the wilderness.

As in a dream, or is this a nightmare, I now step outside. In the darkness of night, stars glisten through the roof of an abandoned sukkah. White glimmers of distant hope contrast with a backdrop of darkness and desolation. The branches which were the roof of the sukkah are now in disarray, disheveled by the wind, tattered by last week’s rain. A table is standing in the center, a few chairs stacked by its side. Dusky white shining faintly in the hazy moonlight. Leaves blanket the floor, as a carpet of remembrance, motionless. In the stillness of the night I hear the sound of warplanes flying overhead.

One day, the world will be different, redeemed. The true nature of man will be revealed. We will remember the Divine Spark which is in each and every one of us. The lion will lie down with the lamb, peace will cover the earth.

The horrors, the nightmare will end. We will no longer see the unseeable, hear the unbearable.

And until then…Where do we go from here? How do we continue to live in a world of such cruelty?

The heart cannot contain the anguish. The mind goes blank and cannot comprehend. Darkness has fallen and refuses to depart. A heavy fog covers what was once colors, heavy silence blankets the voices.

We once thought, in our hopefulness, that the anguish of cruelty was an aberration. Never Again was the slogan that accompanied us, the children and grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors.

And now.

I look for the mercy, but cannot find it. Seeing again, that cruelty is still the nature of mankind, is a part of life. How do we continue?

And there is no answer. There is only the grayness of despair, a whiteness of shock, a pain which returns with each morning’s reawakening. I try to hear the birds’ song, but all is silent. Muffling the endless roar of war and sorrow.

Yesterday I was walking down the streets, as I have done daily for the past two weeks. Just to remember that the sun is still shining. And then I heard a cry. A man was shouting, in a loud agony which must have pierced the veils of heaven. Oy, Oy, Oy, Oy…He didn’t stop.

Perhaps I was wrong, about the sun shining.

Again, I am a child. On the swings, in the garden of magic. We are soaring high, higher, poles coming out of the ground in rhythm to our swinging. Perhaps they will disconnect one day entirely, and we will be tossed up to Heaven. Return to Our Creator, Who Alone knows the why of our human condition.

All is white, and the angels are singing.

I try to hear their song, but I cannot. I hear only a prayer. Over and over, in an endless repetition for them, for us, for life.

Muted in the background, intoned endlessly, thousands of times for today’s thousands, millions of times for yesterday’s millions.

El Maleh Rachamim “God full of Compassion Who dwells on high, grant perfect rest in Thy Divine Presence to all the souls of our holy and pure brethren…May their resting place be in the Garden of Eden, may the Master of Mercy shelter them in the shadow of His Wings forever and may He bind their souls in the Bond of Life”.

At night, peace does not settle upon us in the blanket of darkness. In the morning I will search for the gentle warmth of sunrise. But now, a murky fog has settled over both, a cloud of disbelief which refuses to be dispelled.

A white moth flutters about. I try to find her again, but she has disappeared from view. Through a crack in the steel, a lone sunbeam glistens at the window.

The eternal question of the why of human suffering. A question which cannot be asked. And when asked, has no answer.

Or perhaps, we are the answer, as we search for the warmth and goodness which still exists in the heart of man.

Last week, my son sent me a photo of the sky at dawn in the south. A rainbow was in full view, a striking glowing arch of colors against a fiery sky. A rainbow unlike any other, for it appeared in the sky not after rain, but after fire.

A praise and a promise, for our redemption, for our protection in this Holy Land.

And then I realized.

This past Shabbat was parshat Noah.

The sukkah is still standing, in the Land of Promise. The men who would have dismantled it are now in the army. I wait for their return.

We pray for Divine shelter and the blessings of Peace.

And for the safe and speedy return of all our soldiers and captives.

“Spread over us the shelter of Thy peace. Guide us with Thy good counsel, save us for Thy Name’s sake. Defend us from every enemy, plague, sword, famine, and anguish. Remove the adversary from before and behind us, and shelter us in the shadow of Thy wings…”(Hashkivainu Prayer).

There is a light in the center of my living room. For a few weeks now, it has been flickering. Refuses to be on, refuses to be off.

I just looked again. The light is shining strongly now, steadily, unmistakably.