Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The fainting water torture of exile

Tisha b'Av... again. I'm 35 years old. That's a lot of days of mourning, and it's a drop in the bucket compared to Jewish history.

Drops... I've been thinking about water.

We know there is nothing new under the sun, that Hashem created everything and man 'invents' nothing at all. Water torture (also called waterboarding) involves the torturers causing the subject to feel such a mimic of drowning that they feel tremendous distress and possibly even die. And yet - they were not drowning, usually, and a breath stood between that dying feeling and life.

(And yes, Jews were subjected to this historically, by the Inquisition amongst others.)

Did you ever faint? I did, most notably when I was pregnant with Sroch but a few other times as well. In the faint itself there is an incredible rushing feeling like you are falling into your own mind. The idea of seeing your life flash before your eyes comes from this, I think, since you see a thousand images whoosh through your vision as your brain kinda says - nope, sorry, I don't have enough air, gotta go - and you 'drown' in yourself, and faint.

I imagine that the actual exile of the Jews from Israel during the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash had something of that otherworldliness of fainting, that incredible rushing and inevitability and something of the panic of drowning and not being able to hold on.

I imagine that the tests every Jew faces when they are forced to choose between serving God and the alternative are like a spiritual torture, a fainting of our souls. And when they don't have enough air, don't have enough spiritual fodder - our souls faint away, and we are able to sin, CV"S.

The state of the Jewish people now is a physical malady. Our souls are all being tortured by a lack of air, and we're drowning, we're drowning. We may be drowning in bacon and shrimp, or we may be drowning in misguided attempts to 'fix' what is wrong with other Jews... but we're drowning. And yet... the air is just a breath away.

That's what I'm mourning now. Jews, by nature, want to make the world better. We want to love, not to hate - it's who we are programmed to be. And we have the manual! We KNOW the right way to do it. But we try to find other ways, or we let the water cover our faces and we forget what our natures told us.

But the air is so close.

Hashem, please remove the veil and send oxygen to your drowning people. And please protect my children.


(Previous years' posts: 2006: here, 2009: here, 2010: here, 2011: here and 2012: here)

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