Israeli poet Bacol Serlui turned to Tehillim as the rockets began falling on Simhat Torah and her son was called away to war: “I sat with my Tehillim, reciting from beginning to end until the close of the holiday, until my tears dried up and the breaking news broke me once again. I recite the Psalms again and again and feel that the Tehillim are reading me, dubbing my fear and sorrow, giving me a voice. Three millennia ago a Jew sat and poured out the agony of his soul in times of peace and war, and here he reaches out a hand of prayer and speaks to our own day, until we will be redeemed.” Read Serlui’s essay on King David, the warrior poet, and his Psalms’ ability to reach us across the millennia.
Lt. Amitai Granot was killed on the northern front last week. Days earlier, his father R. Tamir Granot, Rosh Yeshivat Orot Shaul in Tel Aviv, R. Tamir published an essay in Makor Rishon about the implications of the Hamas massacre, the meaning of an old-world pogrom in modern Israel, and the task before us as a nation. Yitzchak Blau presents this summary with the hope that these efforts honor the Granot family and the memory of Amitai z”l.
TRADITION’s recent issue features Dr. Yosefa Fogel Wruble essay, “Psalm 139: When God’s Presence Both Overwhelms and Eludes,” which explores the theological relevance in understanding this psalm as a form of emotional struggle with God. When the essay was written no one could have foreseen how its themes would become presciently relevant to our current moment—so we thought it would be appropriate to chat with the author about what she wrote in light of the events on Simhat Torah and the war.
A half-century ago the Jewish world found itself in a situation not terribly dissimilar from our own. War arrived brutally and by surprise on an Autumn Yom Tov. Writing in the pages of TRADITION following the war, Rabbi A.H. Rabinowitz, Chief Rabbi of the Air Force, asked “Why Yom Kippur?”—aside from Egyptian tactical strategy and hope for surprise, what was the spiritual meaning of the State being attacked on our holy day?