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That Pain You’re Feeling Is Peoplehood

Mijal Bitton
Sapir Journal, October 2023 – February 2024

“This is what Jewish peoplehood feels like. The pain is telling us that the organism is working, that we are still a “we.” This pain is the essence of being — or becoming — a Jew.”
 
The words of the Torah can reflect our profound sorrow in this moment.

Each of us will forever remember the moment when we first heard about the October 7 massacres. I had just arrived at the community I lead, the Downtown Minyan, my mind filled with plans for that night’s Simhat Torah celebrations. I am shomeret Shabbat, so I was completely surprised when a congregant, frantic with worry, approached me before I had a chance to remove my jacket. He urgently informed me about a devastating attack on Israel. He spoke of Hamas breaching the border, civilian hostages, and reported atrocities. 

I was in shock and gripped immediately by a visceral pain for my beloved Jewish people. Unable to reach out to my own relatives in Israel to check on their safety, I nevertheless had a service to lead and a community to hold. I still do. Finding words of Torah for this moment — words of mourning, anguish, and resilience — has been my calling ever since that morning. 

… [To read the full article, click here]

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