Divrei Tikvah

Rabbi Johanna Hershenson’s Words of Hope

A Poem

Thank you to Rabbi Johanna Hershenson for sharing this moving poem written by her rabbinical school classmate, Rabbi Hanna Yerushalmi, in the aftermath of the October 7 attack in Israel.


Silent Prayer

During this moment of silence,
bring me the grief of my people,
centuries born and centuries old,
and let it inspire me to still love the world.

Connect me with fleeting grace
and the prophet’s power
to keep opening up my soul
even when it is seared with loss.

Bring me the courage to quiet
my desperate need for answers
by letting hearts touch hearts
on some imagined coastal plain.

Connect me with the calm of a desert valley
after a surprise flash flood,
the rich pause between musical notes, or
the serenity of a Jerusalem street on Shabbat.

Bring me the tentative hope in a room
before a newborn’s cry.
Connect me to the frail, silvery thread
that links me to the humanity of my neighbor.

During this moment of silence,
though there are horrors all around,
in spite of everything that directs me not,
let the more loving one be — me.