My Chemical Tisha B’Av

I wish I’d never gotten that embryo picture. That I’d never looked at and since the faintest outline of what I thought a baby curled up in the womb might look like. I wish I hadn’t tested early. I wish I hadn’t seen the positive lines on those sticks and started planning my life around it, what books I would buy, what foods I would eat.

I wish I hadn’t filled with hope. I never liked hope; what does hope get you in situations where so many things are bound to go wrong? Does the woman who suffers loss feel stronger because she held out hope that she would be given a miracle? What did hope give her but an even greater fall to despair? Hope holds me back… it gives me sorrow when I need to keep going, persisting as the days turn to months until there is nothing left to do. Hope pauses the warm-blooded machine that is my body and mind as it does what needs to be.

I wish it wasn’t on Tisha B’Av…. Not that I’d want it to be on Rosh Hashana or Hanukkah. I wish this day of mourning hadn’t melded the sense of personal powerless with my communal powerlessness in a world in which the best I can do is stand in the city square in solidarity with the deported, detained, separated, & dead. I wish I didn’t have to read about orphans, in Eicha and the news in parallel. I wish it wasn’t so hard to reach out and help.

I wish I understood what G-d wants from me. He makes us barren, but gives us few paths to adopt a child into our way of life…. A child, not a baby, because it is children that need homes. He shows us great nonJewish suffering everywhere and then asks we give charity to the needy in our corners first. I cannot give back with 3 hands, G-d.

I wish I hadn’t gone to the Tisha B’av vigil and felt such a profound connection with hearing the unique blend of Eicha with politics, poems, and women’s song. It made me long for the days I wasn’t frum, when services still held a spiritual spark. It made me miss the days I didn’t walk out of Orthodox services in disgust before they even started because I couldn’t bear the sense of cold ritual and the empty, unwalked floors of the women’s side.

At the end of the Close the Camps vigil, the rabbi speaker called out for Moshiach. Few clapped. Maybe it was a foreign concept to my Reform and Reconstructionist brethren…. this man on a donkey coming to save the day. Sounding as fictional as Santa Clause. And yet I hope he comes to shed light onto the world in the many ways we cannot. Because I cannot give back with 3 hands, G-d.

Perhaps Moshiach can.

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