Hallel Rosh Chodesh Av Paragraph Two: We Will Leave Again
“It’s why we’re all so fascinated with history. We’re in a rowboat. We move forward, but we’re always looking back (Louise Penny; “Bury Your Dead”). The Jews sang Hallel on Rosh Chodesh Av even as the Babylonians, and five hundred years later, the Romans, were pillaging the city, fully aware that they were on their way into exile. They were determined to move forward, but continued to look back to draw strength and guidance for the future. They sang with the sense that just as they were redeemed from Egypt and experienced great miracles, so too, they would eventually leave this exile, and experience even greater miracles:
The verse says, “As for us, our eyes yet fail watching for our vain help, in our hoping and watching for a nation that would not save us (Lamentations 4:17).” In spite of the destruction, and in spite of our descent into a bottomless abyss, nevertheless, “My eyes await (Kinah #6),” we have never given up hope.
Is it reasonable? Is it logical?
No more than the Splitting of the Sea. No more logical than crossing the Jordan. No more reasonable that God turning a rock into a pool of water:
“When Israel left Egypt, Jacob’s family from among a people who spoke a strange language, Judah became God’s Holy Place, Israel, His realm.
The Sea saw it and ran away. The Jordan River reversed course. The mountains danced like deer, the hills like lambs.
What’s with you, Sea, that you flee? With the Jordan, that you turn around? With the Mountains, that you dance like deer? With the hills, like lambs?
Quake, you Land, before your Master, before the Lord of Jacob!
Who turned the rock into a pool of water. Pebbles into a source of water.”
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