Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Rabbi Jonathan SacksReuters

Rain, rain, rain, the rain of tears

Unwalled tears know no ceiling.

Rain, rain, rain, the rain of sighs

Bottomless sighs filling the air.

O soul of Ya’akov Zvi ben David Arieh,

You left the body of Jonathan Sacks

On the early morning of Shabbat.

It is a privilege that Creator grants

To His loved-ones.

The Shabbat of Parashat Vayeira,

The nerve-knot of our Torah.

The millions of us who were sunned

Into Ya’akov Zvi brilliance,

We were reminded that morning

Of the origination of the Jewish people,

With the Creator giving our first Isaac

To Abraham and Sarah.

We were shamed in our Shabbat learning

By the heights of lowliness of Sodom.

We were following the first ever Jewish thriller

In the adventures of Lot,

The first assimilated Jew, as Rabbi Sacks

Has marked him for good.

On that morning of November 7th, 2020,

20th Marchesvan 5781, we were crying

The tears of anxiety and piety, re-reading

The story of highest possible - or impossible, really -

Human devotion, the story of the Akedah.

Rain, rain, rain, the rain of tears.

In the Torah, Sarah would die

In the next Parasha, Chayei Sarah,

In the very beginning of it.

In the course of events, however,

Matriarch Sarah died

At the time of Akedah.

Very much at that climax of drama

On the Mount Moriah,

When the devotion as a corner-stone

Of Jewish faith

Had been tested on her only son

And her beloved husband.

Sarah died at the very moment of Akedah

Being told by the Satan what is really

Happening there.

Her heart did not sustain that Trial.

The Torah has mercy on us

By telling about this tragedy in the next Parasha,

In a week's time, to let us all

Take a breath, to take the drama in portiions.

Rain, rain, rain, the rain of clouds,

Sun makes you yet darker today, dear clouds,

As we mourn the soul of Ya’akov Zvi

Flying from us.

Jonathan is to be buried today,

In a week’s time the period of shiva for him

Will be over.

But the hole in the heart will be not healed,

Not in a week, not in a month, not in a year,

Or thereafter.

Rain, rain, rain, the rain of tears

The rain that becomes a forest.


The illustrations attached are artworks that were dedicated to Rabbi Sacks.

Moses Hour
Moses HourMichael Rogatchi

1. Michael Rogatchi (C). Moses Hour. Homage to Lord Rabbi Sacks. Indian ink, oil pastel on Inna Rogatchi's authored original archival print on cotton paper. 40 x 30 cm. 2019. Private collection of the Rabbi Sacks family, London, the UK.

The Flight of Thought
The Flight of ThoughtMIchael Rogatchi

2. Inna Rogatchi (C). The Flight of Thought I. Homage to Lord Rabbi Sacks. Lapice pastel, crayons Luminance, hand-applied pigment of pale gold on authored original archival print on cotton paper. 40 x 50 cm. 2019. The Light of the First Day series. The Jewish Mysticism project.

With love to Lady Elaine, the children, brother, the entire Sacks family, and close friends

Dr. InnaRogatchi is co-founder and president of the Rogatchi Foundation and a prolific scholar, writer, artist, film-maker and speaker. After her term in the Board of the Finnish National Holocaust Remembrance Association, she is the member of the International Advisory Board of Rumbula Project ( USA). She is the author of the concept of Culture for Humanity Global Initiative which facilitates psychological support via arts and culture internationally. Together with her husband, she is a founding member of the Leonardo Knowledge Network, the cultural educational body of leading European scientists and artists.