For Tisha B’Av: A Lamentation for Gaza

A Lament for Gaza

Shalom Rav


This Monday night begins the Jewish fast of Tisha B’Av: a day of mourning for the calamities that have befallen the Jewish people over the centuries. Among other things, the traditional Tisha B’Av liturgy includes the chanting Biblical book of  Lamentations.

Given the profoundly tragic events currently unfolding in Gaza, I offer this reworking of the first chapter of Lamentations.  I share it with the hope that on this day of mourning we might also mourn the mounting dead in Gaza – along with what Israel has become…

A Lamentation for Gaza

Gaza weeps alone.
Bombs falling without end
her cheeks wet with tears.
A widow abandoned
imprisoned on all sides
with none willing to save her.

We who once knew oppression
have become the oppressors.
Those who have been pursued
are now the pursuers.
We have uprooted families
from their homes, we have
driven them deep into
this desolate…

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2 thoughts on “For Tisha B’Av: A Lamentation for Gaza

  1. As Christians,how is it you seem to ignore the horrific situation of your fellows in Muslim controlled countries..and yet are so focused on the Muslims in gaza who seem to me deserve everything that befalls them

  2. And Israel weeps for loss of innocent life.
    Rockets fired without end
    from Gaza’s corrupt womb.
    A widow abandoned
    by her suicidal masters
    blinded from all sides
    by ugly pride.

    The Jew, who knows oppression
    chooses to defend himself.
    Rather than be pursued
    he targets the murderers.
    Rather than be uprooted, raped,
    and slaughtered
    He chooses to defend his home
    and his hope that Gaza
    will choose to end her exile from peace.

    And Israel mourns the loss of innocent life.
    Gaza’s murder machines are bombed and broken
    Yet we still hear the calls for death and the cries
    for more blood
    Gaza dreams of hearing the buzz of planes
    the hum of ships
    the hammering of construction
    But her master prefers the nightmare;
    the black vacuum of honor and pride
    where all dreams are denied.

    Free Gaza from her masters.
    Merely choose to build your future
    rather than destroy those you choose to hate.
    Can you overcome your greatest transgression?
    Your occupation of your children’s minds?
    Their hearts born into captivity
    Your prison of hate, death and honor,
    the only thing you are willing to build for them.

    God has taught us what is most precious-
    We will use all of our heart, soul and might to
    defend it.
    Your idolatrous veneration of death and honor
    has sent you wandering into
    a wilderness of your own making.

    You have robbed yourselves of dignity by choosing
    to fire rockets, to dig tunnels, to send suicide bombers,
    to murder our children in their beds.
    Your choices have brought you
    fences, buffer zones,
    gunboats, mortar rounds
    and Apache missles.

    We would rather sing with you a song of
    “a free people in their own land”
    but you make a mockery of your cause.
    Will we ever sing a song of freedom with you
    when you have imprisoned yourselves behind walls of hate and murder?

    As much as we love peace, we have no illusions
    of comfort and security.
    We have learned to believe you when you
    write, preach, and act to destroy Israel,
    and murder us wherever we are.

    You have unleashed hell on both sides of the border.
    And you celebrate when you murder us, and your Gaza masters
    celebrate when our defense kills you.

    For these things, Gaza, we weep:
    for the hatred and culture of death that you teach your children,
    for your choice to destroy rather than build, to murder rather than celebrate life,
    and, for forcing us to defend ourselves.

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