It was dark already, a warmish autumn evening hosting a gentle breeze. I heard the slight rustle of the leaves on the bush strangling the fence between us and the Cohens. A car drove by.
Sighing, and not quite sure what was about to happen, I took one of our dirty green plastic Keter chairs off the pile of six, wiped off the dust with my hand and placed the chair to face the hills overlooking the Dead Sea. I looked up to the stars in the clear night sky, took a deep breath, sat down, gingerly placed the earphones in my ears and pressed the on button.
Ana bekoach, g’dulat yemincha, tatir tz’rura
Please, by the great power of Your right hand, set the captive free
I closed my eyes and began to sway back and forth, trying to focus on the words, the sounds… anything to halt the thoughts and worry disco rocking in my mind.
Kabel rinat amcha sagveinu, tahareinu nora
Revered God, accept Your people’s prayer; strengthen us, cleanse us
The song finished (after 6 minutes 17 seconds) and I just played it again.
Na gibor dorshei yichudcha, k’vavat shamrem
Almighty God, guard us as the apple of the eye of those who seek You
The more I listened, the more thoughts, fears, tears and prayers welled up inside me.
How will Gilad cope? Please don’t make him suffer too much… he’s so young… he can’t die… Dr Mickey says there’s a 96% success rate…please make it happen… but what if? There are too many variables… What about the rest of the kids? How will they manage? What’s going to happen with my work? Rachel’s? How will the money come in? … visions of a thanksgiving party, my hesped at his funer… Chas VeShalom! “I lift up my eyes unto the Heavens. From whence will my help come?”
Barchem taharem, rachamei tzidkatcha tamid gamlem
Bless them, cleanse them, pity them; ever grant them Your truth
The tears were pouring down my face, my handkerchief was saturated and I was oblivious to leaves, cars, stars or anything else.
Maybe even to myself.
Inexplicably, magically, it seemed that this mesmerizing melody was gradually trickling its way into the darkest depths of my troubled soul.
Drip, drip, drip.
Chasin kadosh berov tuvcha, nahel adatecha
Mighty, holy God, in Your abundant grace, guide Your people
Until, at some stage, it finally eroded the last layer of resistance.
My mind stopped getting in the way.
No more maudlin, muddling thoughts. No more depressing visions. No more pain, panic or pressure.
Yachid ge’eh le’amcha p’neh, zochrei k’dushatecha
Unique and proud one, turn to Your people, who remember Your holiness
I just stopped interfering and allowed the music, the words, the rhythm, the meaning to flow and seep down and down, note by note, chord by chord, line by line, into my most primordial, purest soul.
Drip, drip, drip.
Shavateinu kabel ushma tza’akateinu, yode’a ta’alumot
You who know secret thoughts, accept our prayer, hear our cry
Everything was going to be okay.
I have no idea how long I was out there or how many times I replayed the song but I knew it had done what it was supposed to do.
I turned off the MP, returned the chair to the pile and went back indoors, eyes red but smiling with surety. Revived, calmed, soothed, refreshed.
Baruch shem k’vod malchuto le’olam va’ed
Blessed be the name of His glorious majesty forever and ever
Author’s note: Baruch Hashem, Gilad is now a fit and healthy 18-year-old.