Kinah 28: Without Gravity
“So how can I be consoled?”
We have met the inconsolable in the Bible (Genesis 37:34-35): “And Jacob rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said: ‘Nay, but I will go down to the grave to my son mourning.’ And his father wept for him.”
Jacob could not be consoled when his world, his potential, and God’s promises, all seemed so distant.
We have met the inconsolable in Holocaust survivors.
We have also met the inconsolable who are able to live again and dream in those same survivors.
Primo Levi, one of the most powerful writers about the Holocaust, survived by becoming a dreamer:
“I’ve accepted everything connected with space exploration, but I’m surprised that it is possible to survive reasonably well in the absence of gravity, something completely unexpected. The discomforts seem to consist in a bit of seasickness, loss of calcium, things that are ridiculous when compared to the leap from gravity one to gravity zero, or almost. A gift, a present. It is easier to move in the absence of gravity than to reach a depth of ten meters under water.” Dialogo, Page 56.
Levi survived without gravity, in a world without rules, when he was in Auschwitz, but that was not living. His greater challenge was to live in a world that allowed Auschwitz, a world, as far as he was concerned, without gravity. This inconsolable man, an eventual suicide, survived by dreaming of the possibilities of life; space exploration, winning a Nobel prize,
We, the inconsolable of Tisha B’Av, can find a way to survive in a world that contradicts much of what we hold precious, a world, for us, without gravity, a world in which we are inconsolable, by dreaming, as this Kinah ends:
“Until He lowers our enemies to the grave,
and raises us out of exile.
And then, I will be consoled.”
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