Until the Heart Breaks

When I was a child I sang in the synagogue choir,
I sang until my voice broke. I sang
first voice and second voice. I’ll sing
Until my heart breaks, first heart and second heart.
A psalm.
Yehuda Amichai

What do we long for?  For connection.  For safety.  For love.

Why do we sing? Because we hope. 

Tonight, Yom Kippur begins, and with it, a day when we sing from the midst of our broken hearts.

We have accrued dross and weight that is unbearable – how can we throw off the miseries we experienced – much less committed this past year?  How can we forgive ourselves, feel we have the right and the chance to try again, to start again, to believe again?  Teshuva, return — we pray for it.

From the depths we must call out, from the knowledge and the full recognition of our failings.  There must be a way to waken, to see the world clearly.  We belong to this world.

More importantly, the world belongs to us.  We are responsible.

When has night given way to morning?  The rabbis say:  When you look into the face of the person who is beside you and you can see that this person is your brother or your sister, then the night has ended.

When you have learned that everyone is particular and yet connected to the source of life itself, to the earth we live on, to the people who share it with us, the morning has begun.

May I sing the song of my people with commitment and joy.  First voice.

May I sing the song of humanity with hope. Second voice.

May I sing all things divine, for they are everywhere around me, in the faces of those who walk beside me, in the souls of those I do not know, in the footprints of the creatures who hide in the trees. 

I’ll sing until my heart breaks.


8 Replies to “Until the Heart Breaks”

  1. “Let me heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”

    Have a wonderful Yom Kippur. Wish I could be there. Pray for me too.

    1. Thank you for this message; may it be so for us both. And, of course, you were indeed very much with us because you were in my prayers.

  2. Barbara,
    What a beautiful message you have sent. I hope you and your family have a thoughtful and happy Yom Kippur. May your blessings for each of us transcend beyond Yom Kippur and continue throughout the year.


  3. “I sang until my voice broke. I sang
    first voice and second voice. I’ll sing
    Until my heart breaks, first heart and second heart…”

    After spending the weekend looking into *your* face, I probably don’t need to tell you how this post resonated with me.

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