Birth pangs can’t hear
The toddler’s first words.
Earthbound magma can’t see
The saplings that will root in ash.
Who will hear comfort, comfort my people
In a defiled temple that still stands, or
Justice, justice you will pursue
After the race is won?
But a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the temple was destroyed:
Above a felled roof will appear
A vast star-studded sky.
Our exile from safety and nostalgia
Will begin our innermost return –
Not to where we were but
To where we’re destined to be.
So the rejected stone will become
Lies will fertilize truth.
Protests will inspire policy.
Even after two thousand years,
Hope will not be destroyed
But must be renewed, a covenant
Between time and timelessness
Announced by birth pangs,
A seismic shudder from the ground,
A shofar blast,
A prayer of the heart.
Comfort, comfort – Isaiah 40:1, for the seven weeks of comfort after Tisha b’Av. Justice,
justice – Deut. 16:20. A whisper will be heard – Yehuda Amichai, “From the Place Where We
are Right.” Felled roof – For Sukkot, the destination of the journey from Tisha b’Av. Rejected
stone… – From Psalms 118:22. After two thousand years – From Hatikvah, Israel’s national
anthem. Shudder – For even angels will shudder at Unetaneh Tokef. Shofar – Rosh Hashanah
seven weeks after Tisha b’Av.