Living in the world of trauma and mental illness, I have a special place in my heart for Tisha B’Av and the three weeks. I feel that this time of year is a time that Hashem feels my deep pain, the pain that I hold in my heart a whole year. And I try to feel the pain of Hashem’s loss of the holy temple, too.
In particular, I feel a strong connection to Megillas Eicha. This megilla, which is read on Tisha B’Av, is written in the order of the Hebrew alphabet, like an acrostic. Each verse starts with the next letter of the alphabet, as the pesukim (verses) speak of the pain our nation experienced.
So I wrote my own acrostic in the order of the English alphabet… thinking of all our sisters and brothers who struggle with mental illness and of all Jews around the world:
“Aicha”, a nation so great; how can it be?
“Badad”, sits alone eternally
Classic expressions of fear, pain – so many
During such a long period of history
Each person feels it; in my own life too!
For the sadness of the Tisha B’av is present all the year through
Going through life with pain; wondering if things will always stay the same
Having a life with mental health struggles
Inside feeling like the Churban (Second Temple’s desecration) itself
Just to remember that I’m good
Keeping my life together the best that I could
Living each day with severe anxiety
Missing the joy in life that comes to so many easily
No, it’s not easy to just say how I feel
Overcome by emotions that feel so real
Personally challenged in so many ways
Quiet memories of trauma accompanying each day
Really this poem can go on and on
Suffering is real – it’s the pain of the Churban
The building I do each and every day
Undertaking to rebuild my personal Bais HaMikdash (the holy temple) in a very deep way
Very soon will be the time I await
When consolation will come from Hashem – I thought I failed, but I did great!
Xceptional challenges faced me each day
Yes, I lived the Churban, feel the pain, and have rebuilt my Bais Hamikdash, I truly can say
“Zechor”, I remember the bitterness and pain
“Zos ashiv el libi”; my heart remembers the refrain
Hashem’s kindness doesn’t cease, even in the challenging times
He believes, hopes, and is helping for your success and mine
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