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Why We Cry

You are there when I’m asked how many children I have, and I hesitate before I answer


We cry because we don’t know what to cry about. Except this year, I do.

Where did you go, my beloved child?

She weeps in the night, her cheek wet with tears. There is no one to comfort her.

At night when all is dim, the city fast asleep, I look out my window.

I feel it. I feel the emptiness like a glass shattering. The heaviest emptiness I have ever felt. A void so tangible that I feel my heart pounding, fingers trembling as those tears come. I will cry out the emptiness until I am whole again.

Jerusalem cries out. My child, where did you go?

My beautiful baby boy. Stillborn. Your mommy returned you with so much love. Love that can heal broken souls, love that can make every boo-boo better, love that can fill the world with happiness and purpose.

You see, baby boy, you taught your mommy that there is no greater love than love for a child. And if they ask me to prove it, I will tell them. A Jewish mother bonds with her baby from the moment she sees those promising two pink lines until she’s 120. As long as I live, you live. You were a part of me and still are.

I saw you for a few minutes, not nearly enough. You didn’t see me, but I’m sure you felt me.

I wet your face with my tears. I filled your tiny body with prayers to take straight up to our Father. He wanted you. There is no arguing with the King.

Now I understand what the pain of the Shechinah means. Our Tatte cries out, “My children! Where have you gone? Come back, please, return. I miss you.”

I come home to my happy healthy family. And that void? It’s there, big enough to explode and break my home, big enough to paint everything black.

I see happiness and life all around me. I rejoice and laugh and sing and play silly games. All the while, you are missing.

You are there on Friday, when I realized that I hadn’t felt you move for a while, and my life changed forever. You are there every Rosh Chodesh, the day when your little neshamahle won the fight. Let me stay here up in Heaven, where it’s safe and I’ll be pure. Please don’t make me go away, can’t you see I’m so afraid?

You are missing when I light four candles, not five. You are missing when I stare at the newest addition to our family, Yonatan, a reminder that Hashem is the ultimate giver. You are there when I’m asked how many children I have, and I hesitate before I answer.

This year, I understand. I understand that the Shechinah needs a place. I see the Shechinah in the broken glass, in the silenced music, in the ugly gray unfinished square on the walls of our home. We are not whole, and we cannot forget that. The Shechinah, She yearns for a home.

And Jerusalem wonders with pain, where did those days of glory go?

I look out the window and I see it. I feel the pain, I feel the emptiness. I cry because Hashem is crying for so much more. As my body shakes and begs for sleep so that I can face another day, I stop for a moment.

Something huge is missing from our lives. An abstract, untouchable reality. We dream of Mashiach and peace and purity. But we don’t understand, we don’t know what we’re missing. In the darkness of the night, I wonder: What does it look like? What does it feel like?

One thing I do know is why we cry.

We cry for the void, for the deep empty hole.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 751)

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