Tu me manque plus que d’habitude. Il a été trop longue.
Extract from the Warsaw Ghetto Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan, 1940:
It is our good fortune that the conquerors failed to understand the nature and strength of Polish Jewry. Logically, we are obliged to die. According to the laws of nature, our end is destruction and total annihilation. How can an entire community feed itself when it has no grip on life? For there is no occupation, no trade which is not limited and circumscribed for us.
But even this time we did not comply with the laws of nature. There is within us some hidden power, mysterious and secret, which keeps us going, keeps us alive, despite the natural law. If we cannot live on what is permitted, we live on what is forbidden. That is no disgrace for us. What is permitted is no more than an agreement, and what is forbidden derives from the same agreement. If we do not accept the agreement, it is not binding on us. And particularly where this forbidden and permitted comes from a barbarous conqueror, who limits life to one made in his image, his murderous and larcenous views.
…The Jews of Poland oppressed and broken, shamed and debased, still love life, and do not wish to leave this world before their time. Say what you like, the will to live amidst terrible suffering is the manifestation of some hidden power whose nature we do not yet know. It is a marvelous, life-preserving power that only the most firmly established and strongest of the communities of our people have received as a blessing.
The fact that we have hardly any suicides is worthy of special emphasis.
We have remained naked. But as long as that secret power is concealed within us, we shall not yield to despair. The strength of this power lies in the very nature of the Polish Jew, which is rooted in our eternal tradition that commands us to live….
Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar. (Psalm 51, ESV)
Struggling as proof of the Holy Spirit working, proof that God is faithful.
Slowly blinking awake, nestled somewhere under a mountain of warm, laundry detergent-scented blankets.
Yesterday, C said something scary: hey, we have two months until senior year!
Where did time go? Did I ever think I would call this bottom bunk, south side apartment, home? Or be driving my first car around Berkeley and Oakland and Emeryville? That my mornings would be frequently filled with brunch dates and taking baptism portraits?
Never want to climb out of bed. Cherishing these days. So grateful…
Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.