Photo of Tree of Life memorial by Andrea Hanks.

Eileh Ezkarah for Pittsburgh

A prayer for the eleven Jews massacred on October 27, 2018 at the Tree of Life synagogue.

Eileh Ezkarah is a prayer said on Yom Kippur, usually during the musaf service, recounting the execution of ten sages of the Mishnah, some of the most important early rabbinic figures, nearly two millennia ago. Eileh Ezkarah is also an opportunity to reflect on the many martyrs who have since died, both for the Jewish people and because they were Jewish.

This special Eileh Ezkarah for the eleven who died on October 27, 2018 was written by Rabbi Jon Perlman, the spiritual leader of New Light Congregation, one of three congregations that met in the Tree of Life synagogue. It was written in collaboration with Tamar Elad-Applebaum and Martin Cohen; Tovi Admon vocalized the Hebrew.

For a formatted, printable pdf of the prayer, please click here.

 

אֵֽלֶּה אֶזְכְּרָה וְנַפְשִׁ עָלַי אֶשְׁפְּכָה

,כִּי ּבְּלָעֽוּנוּ זָרִים כְּעֻגָה בְּלִי הֲפוּכָה

,כִּי בִימֵינוּ אֲנוּ לֹא עָלְתָה אֲרוּכָה

.לַאַחַד עָשָֹר הֲרוּגֵי קְהִילָתֵינוּ הַקְדוֹשָה

These things do I remember and my heart is grieved!

How the arrogant have devoured our people!

Who would believe that in our day there would be no intervention

For the eleven slaughtered from our holy community?

שַׁבָּת בַּבֹּקֶר כְּמִידֵי שַׁבָּת הַיְתָה

וַיַֹשְכִּימוּ כְּעֶשֹרִים מִבְּנֵי הַקְּהִילָה

וּבָאוּ לִקְרֹא אֶת פָּרַשַת וַיֵרַא מִן הַתּוֹרָה

וְלֹא יָדְעוּ וְלֹא יַכְלוּ לִרְאוֹת בֶּאַסְפָּקְלַרְיָה

כִּי סִּדְרַא תְגַלֶה מְאַשֶר אוֹתָם יִקְרֶה

That Shabbat morning was like every Shabbat

The twenty early-risers from the three shuls

Came to read Parshat Vayera from the Torah

And they did not know nor could they see in the reflection of God’s mystery,

That the portion would reveal what would happen to them.

וְקָרְאוּ

וַיַֹּשכֵּם אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח אֶת־נְעָרָיו

וְאֶת בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ אֲֹשֶר אָהַב

 .וֵַיּֽלְכוּ אֶל הַר הָמּוֹרִיָה יַחְדָּו

.יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ עַל יָדוֹ וּשְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו מֵאֲחוֹרָיו

דּוֹם הָלְכוּ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים

וַיַּחֲרִישׁוּ כִּי לֹא מָצְאוּ דָּבָר

והִנֵה הִגִיעוּ אֶל הָהָר

.וְֹשָם נִסָּה הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת אַבְרָהָם

וַיַּנַּח אַבְרָהָם אֶת־נַעֲרָיו שָׁם בְּתַחְתִּית הָהָר

.וַיֹּאמֶר יְיָ אֶל־אַבְרָהָם עֲלֵה אֵלַי הָהָרָה כִּי אֲנַסֶּךָּ

And they read:

Abraham rose early and brought his servant lads

And his only son who he loved

They went to Mount Moriah together

His son Isaac by his side and two lads behind

They walked three days in silence.

They went in hushed voices for nothing occurred to them.

Finally they arrived at Moriah

And there God tested Abraham

And Abraham let the youths rest at the bottom of the hill.

God said to Abraham: Ascend to me on the hill and I will test you there.

:וְרָאּוּ

וַיָּקָם אבַרְָהָםָ

וַיַּעַל אֶל־הַר הָֽאֱלֹהִֽים הוּא הַר הָמּוֹרִיָה

וַיְכַס הֶֽעָנָן אֶת־הָהָֽר וַיִּקְרָא אֵלָיו יְיָ לֵאמֹר

כֹּה תֹאמַר לְבֵית יַעֲקֹב וְכֹה תַגֵּיד לִבְנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל

קְדשִׁים תִּהְיוּ כִּי קָדשׁ אֲנִי

,וְכֹל הַרוֹצֶה לִכְרוֹת בְּרִיתִי וּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלִי

בְּבוֹא הָעֵת אֶת שְׁמִי הַקָדוֹשׁ יְקַדֵֹּש בְּרַבִּים

כִּי אֶל אֱלֹהִים חַיִים יִקְרָא

וְאֶת קְדוּשָּת הֶחַיִים וְאָהַבַתוֹ בְּלֶב כֹּל יִיטַע

וַיַשׁוּבּוּ כּוּלָם אַבְרָהָם לִפְנֵיהֶם

וַיִלְכוּ נִפְרַדִים לְבֵיּתָם

וַיִדֹמוּ כוּלָּּם מִפּנֵי הַחָזוֹן הַחָרֶד אַשֶׁר רַאַתָה עֵינָם

And they saw:

And Abraham rose He ascended the mountain of God, the hill of Moriah

And a cloud covered the mountain and God called to him saying:

Thus will you say to the house of Jacob and thus will you tell the house of Israel: You will be holy for I am holy

And everyone who wishes to enter my covenant and visit my Sanctuary

That time when the many will come to sanctify my Holy Name in public

And to the living God they will call

And unto the Sanctity of Life and of Love that is implanted in every heart And then the group returned, Abraham leading,

And they walked separately to their homes

And they were silent all of them in reaction to the frightful vision their eyes saw.

:וְכֵן שָׁמְעוּ מֵאֲחוֹרֵי הַפַּרְגּוֹד

,וְאִם תִּשְׁאֲלוּ בְּמָרָה זוֹ תּוֹרָה וְזֶה שְׂכָרָהּ

:תְּשׁוּבָתִי יְדוּעָה

גְּזֵרָה הִיא מִלְּפָנַי

.וְאֵין לְהַרְהֵר אַחַר מִדּוֹתָי

וְכֵן קָרָה בְּמִקְדַֹּש הַמְעַט שֶׁלָּנוּ

.בְּבוֹא הַצָר לְנַסוֹת אוֹתָנוּ

.חַרְבּוֹ שְׁלוּפָה לְהַכְרִית אֶת זִכְרוֹנֵינוּ מִמְקוֹמֵינוּ

:אֶת קְדוֹשֵׁינוּ מָצָא כְּמוֹת שֶׁהָיוּ

מֵהֶם פְּנֵיהֶם זֶה אֶל זֶה לִפְנֵי קָדִיֹש דְּרַבָּנָן

וּמֵהֶם פְּנֵיהֶם כְּלַפֵּי חוּץ לְקַבֵּל אוֹרְחִים

מֵהֶם מְמַהָרִים לַעֲזוֹר לִיְדִידִים לִמְצוֹא

אֶת מְקוֹמָם בַּסִּדּוּר

מֵהֶם מְכִינִים אֶת פָּרַשַת הַתּוֹרָה

.וּמֵהֶם בַּמִטְבַּח מְכִינִים אֶת הַמַנָה הַבָּאָה

And thus they heard from behind the Veil of Mystery:

And if you ask in your bitterness, “This is Torah and this is its reward?”

“My answer is known:

It has been decreed …

Don’t dwell too much on what separates You from Me

What occurred in our Holy Sanctuary that day

As the enemy came to tread upon our holy space

His wielding sword to break apart our memories from that place

The sanctified recalled a few that remained —

Among some their faces turned to one another before “Kaddish d’Rabbanan”

Among some their faces turned toward the door to welcome new faces

Among some they quickly assisted their friends in finding

their place in the Siddur

Among some those engaged in Torah Study

And among some who were in the kitchen preparing the next meal.

ואְֶל אַחַד עַשׂרֹ אָמר יָיְ בְּלַחַַשׁ

הִגִיעַ זְמַנְכֶם לְקַדֵֹּש אֶת שְׁמִי בַּרַבִּים

וְיוֹדֵעַ אֲנִי שֶׁלֹא בִּיקַֹשְתֶּם זֹאת

וּבְכָל זֹאת זִכְרוּ וְהַבִּיטוּ לְעֲקֵידַת יָחִיד

And to the eleven, God spoke in a whisper

“The time has arrived to sanctify My Name in public.

“And I know you did not ask for this.” Even so, they would be remembered

and looked upon as personally bound to the Altar as one united.

כִּי בַּעָתִיד יִזְכְּרוּ יְלַדִים וּקְהִילוֹת

שֶׁאַנַחְנוּ אֶת קְדוֹשָת הֶחָיִים בָּאנוּ לִחְיוֹת

כִּי קַמנוּ עַמָדְנוּ הְמְשָכְנוֹ בְּדַרְכְּכֶם

 .כִּי זָכַרְנוּ אֶמוּנָה וִידִידוּת כַּאן לְאוֹרְכֶם

For in the future their children and congregations would remember

That we are Sanctifiers of Life who come to live

For we arose, we stood as your followers in your path

For we remembered faith and friendship here toward your light.

אֶת חַלְלֵינוּ קַבָרְנוּ

וְעֲלֵיהֶם בָּכִינוּ

.וּבְכָל זאֹת לֹא נִֹשבַּרְנוּ

!וּבְכָל זֹאת אֲנַחְנוּ בִּמְקוֹמֵינוּ עַמַדְנוּ

.וְנַמְשִׁיךְ לַעֲמוֹד

We buried our bodies.

And upon them we wept

And even so, this did not break us.

Nonetheless we were steadfast in our place

And we continued to stand.

וּבְכֵן, אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ, עֲשֵׂה לְמַֽעַן הֲרוּגֵינוּ

עלַ שֵׁם קָדְשֶׁךָֽ

וְעַשֵׂה עַל טַף וְיֶלַדִים וְכֹל אַנְשֵׁי אֶמוּנַתֶךָ

זָכְרֵינוּ אֱלֹהֵינוּ, כִּי זוֹכְרִים אַנָחְנוּ לָךְ

עֲזְרֵֽנוּ מַלְכֵּינוּ, כִּי מִתְפַּלְלִים אַנָחְנוּ לָךְ

.וְהַצִּילֵֽנוּ יוֹצְרֵינוּ, כִּי עָלֶיךָ עֵינֵינוּ

And so, Our Father our King, act for the sake of those who were slaughtered for your holy name.

And act for the babies and children and for all the people of your faith.

Remember us, our King, for we keep You in mind.

Help us, our King, for we prayed to You.

Save us, our Creator, for our eyes are upon you.

וְכֹל עוֹד נְשָמָה בְּאַפֶּינוּ

נְבַקֶשׁ עוֹלַמֵינוּ

וְעֶרֶב וַבּוֹקֶר בְּכֹל יוֹם תַמִיד

:נְקַבֵּץ וְנַכְרִיז כְּאֶחָד

As long as this breath is within us

We ponder the world you created for us

And evening and morning, each and every day.

We gather and we cry out as one:

.שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ ה׳ אֶחָד

Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.

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