For Lost Homes on Tisha B’Av

Jer. 17:12 A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary

I am losing my home.

I love my home.
I love the birds singing in the morning outside my window.
I love my neighbors, we feed each others’ cats.
I love the bodega on the corner.
I love the Park, and my mailman.

I love sitting on the roof,
With the sky so large and the moon so bright and golden behind a cloud,
That I can always imagine myself 3000 years ago,
Looking up in awe to see Old Man White Beard God
Sitting on his Kissei Kavod, his Throne of Glory, surrounded by angels,
Looking down on me as I drink my vodka tonic.

My home, four flights up, a real shlep and not very spacious,
But a good home, a restful home, my safe place.
And I must go.

I am losing my home.
How can this be?
Running out of money and long term unemployed
I am being forced out, expelled.
Sell it or lose it and I’m lucky, I can sell it.

I’m not alone,
There are a lot of us.
We are losing our homes.

In my home there was a big chair, padded and comfy.
Destroyed by the cats, ripped to shreds
But a good and restful chair.
My chair.
But the realtor said it was too bulky for the space
And made my home look too cramped, I must get rid of it.
So I did.
And it works, my apartment looks….

Oh, how I miss my big chair!
And I am losing my home.

In Israel, there is a beautiful wooden chair,
Intricately carved, hand-crafted by a butcher in 1808
For Reb Nachman of Bratslav.
It was Nachman’s chair in Bratslav, the throne of a ruler.
And Nachman had a dream that he sat in that chair and flew to Jerusalem.
After his death, the Breslovers kept the chair
And danced around it
In their hearts Nachman was still alive in his home, sitting on his throne,
The center of their universe.
And when the the Nazis came
They cut up the chair into small pieces.
Each chasid took one and set off for Jerusalem
And each chasid with a piece of the chair made it safe to this destination
Where they reassembled the chair.
And there they dance around it, to this day.
But my chair is gone.

Oh, how I miss my big chair!
And I am losing my home.

The destruction of the ancient Temple, the expulsion from Spain,
The pogroms against the shtetls in Russia, the murders of the six million–
So terrible and huge.
Much sadder than the sale of a small apartment in Brooklyn

But oh, how I miss my big chair!
And I am losing my home,
Where the birds sing outside my window in the morning

Baruch Atah HaMakom, Blessed Place, Where I Live No Matter Where I Live, give me sanctuary to grieve and the strength to stop, and the knowledge of when it is time to do both.


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