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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

From the Center of the Flame and Nachamu, Nachamu Ami

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

Parshat Va'etchanan is always read after the nine days of mourning and the fast of Tisha B'Av, when we mourn the many tragic events in our history.

Although it is considered the parsha of consolation, in order to arrive at Parshat Vaetchanan we need to sink to the depths of despair and rise again all in the space of a few short days.


In this parsha Moshe recalls God calling to the people from the flames and the flame is where this first poem takes place.


Tisha B’Av has its own unique rhythm. The eve of the fast day and the morning are a time of great sadness, but by the time one reaches Mincha and then the Ma’ariv service, we are already rising from the ashes and begin the period of comfort, so my second piece is one of comfort and completion.


It is always best to end on a positive note.


Times may be terrible, but we rise again.



Leann


 

From the Center of the Flame


From the blue center of the flame

My people call out to me;

their voices not yet ash.


"Lamah azavtanu?"

”Why have you forsaken us?”


I call to them from the center of the flame.

“I am here, My children.

I am here with you in the flame,

but you are blind to Me.

Your ears cannot perceive My moans.

But I am here

and, My children,

I grieve.

I weep with you.

I cry over your baseless hatred,

even as I cried with you through the fires of the Chorban,

through the flames of the Inquisition,

the destruction of the pogroms

and the ovens of Auschwitz.


My tears

are the creators of

holy sparks.


Oy, My children, we are so broken.

Your voices cry out.

The sounds from

your blistered lips,

are ice on the flames.

Shema

Yisrael

Adon-ai

Elokeinu

Adon-ai

Echad.


Six times the flame

sputters,


but it is not extinguished.



I weep as I gather your souls

to my breast.

I hold them to Me

for you are My precious children.


All that remains now is the future.


The words of history continue to be written

from the blue center of the flame.




 

Nachamu, Nachamu, Ami


May you find comfort, my children.

May the grass be cool under your feet.

May the shade of the trees offer you protection.

May you grow old surrounded by people who love you.

May the earth always offer you her bounty.


May you hear My voice from the trees, from the clouds, from the rain and yes,

even from the fire.


Nachamu, nachamu, ami


My children,

May your limbs be strong.

May your eyes see colors.

May you wake up refreshed in the morning

and may you sleep peacefully by night.

May you find peace among your neighbors

and may you find the value of shared dialogue.


May you hear My voice from the trees, from the clouds, from the rain and yes,

even from the fire.


Nachamu, nachamu, ami.


May you find what you search for.

May your tears dry.


Remove the ashes from your forehead.

Remove your mourning clothes.


May your back straighten.

May your fingers uncurl.

May you look up.

May you sing and dance again.

May you smile, my dearest children.


May you hear My voice from the trees, from the clouds, from the rain and yes,

even from the fire.


Nachamu, nachamu, ami.








וַיְדַבֵּ֧ר יְהֹוָ֛ה אֲלֵיכֶ֖ם מִתּ֣וֹךְ הָאֵ֑שׁ ק֤וֹל דְּבָרִים֙ אַתֶּ֣ם שֹׁמְעִ֔ים וּתְמוּנָ֛ה אֵינְכֶ֥ם רֹאִ֖ים זוּלָתִ֥י קֽוֹל׃ יהוה

I spoke to you out of the fire; you heard the sound of words but perceived no shape—nothing but a voice.


Devarim 4:12



 



A link to the song Nachamu, Nachamu by Eitan Katz

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