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אֵלֶּה אֶזְכְּרָה, נוּסַח פִּיטְסְבּוּרְג | Eileh Ezkarah for Pittsburgh, by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman with Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum and Rabbi Martin Cohen

Beth Kissilef writes:

I wish the eleven kedoshei Pittsburgh (martyrs) were still with us. But I am very proud that my husband initiated a collaboration to have a meaningful religious response to the tragedy. This is a modern version of the prayer for martyrs read on Yom Kippur. It was written by Rabbi Jonathan Perlman [New Light Congregation, Pittsburgh] in collaboration with Rabbis Tamar Elad-Appelbaum of קהילה ציון ארצישראלית – Kehilat Zion Jerusalem and Martin Cohen of the Shelter Rock Jewish Center with nekudot (vowels) by Tova Admon of Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh and typesetting by David Zvi Kalman. Please read, use and share as the authors would like this response to be known and understood. A version is on the Rabbinical Assembly website and will be on the New Light Congregation site too. Shana tova u’metuka – a good and sweet new year.

Hebrew English

אֵֽלֶּה אֶזְכְּרָה וְנַפְשִׁי עָלַי אֶשְׁפְּכָה
כִּי בְלְָעֽוּנוּ זָרִים כְּעֻגָּה בְּלִי הֲפוּכָה,
כִּי בִימֵינוּ אֲנוּ לֹא עָלְתָה אֲרוּכָה,
לַאַחַד עָשָֹר הֲרוּגֵי קְהִילָתֵינוּ הַקְדוֹשָׁה.
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
וַיַשְׁכִּימוּ כְּעֶשְׂרִים מִבְּנֵי הַקְּהִילָה
וּבָאוּ לִקְרֹא אֶת פָּרַשַׁת וַיֵרַא מִן הַתּוֹרָה
וְלֹא יָדְעוּ וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לִרְאוֹת בְּאַסְפַּקְלַרְיָה
כִּי סִּדְרַא תְגַלֶּה מְאַשֶׁר 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׃
וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח אֶת־נְעָרָיו
וְאֶת בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ אֲשֶׁר אָהַב
וַיֵּֽלְכוּ אֶל הַר הָמּוֹרִיָה יַחְדָּו.
יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ עַל יָדוֹ וּשְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו מֵאֲחוֹרָיו.
דּוֹם הָלְכוּ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים
וַיַּחֲרִישׁוּ כִּי לֹא מָצְאוּ דָּבָר
וְהִנֵה הִגִיעוּ אֶל הָהָר
וְשָׁם 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.

וְרָאוּ׃
וַיָּקָם אַבְרָהָם
וַיַּעַל אֶל־הַר הָאֱלֹהִים הוּא הַר הָמּוֹרִיָה
וַיְכַס הֶעָנָן אֶת־הָהָר וַיִּקְרָא אֵלָיו יְיָ לֵאמֹר
כֹּה תֹאמַר לְבֵית יַעֲקֹב וְכֹה תַגֵּיד לִבְנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל
קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי
וְכֹל הַרוֹצֶה לִכְרוֹת בְּרִיתִי וּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלִי,
בְּבוֹא הָעֵת אֶת שְׁמִי הַקָדוֹשׁ יְקַדֵּשׁ בְּרַבִּים
כִּי אֶל אֱלֹהִים חַיִים יִקְרָא
וְאֶת קְדֻשַּׁת הָחַיִּים וְאָהֲבָתוֹ בְּלֶב כֹּל יִיטַע
וַיַשׁוּבוּ כּוּלָם אַבְרָהָם לִפְנֵיהֶם
וַיֵלְכוּ נִפְרָדִים לְבֵּיתָם
וַיִדֹמוּ כוּלָם מִפְּנֵי הַחָזוֹן הַחָרֶד אַשֶׁר רָאֲתָה 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.
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.

וְכֵן קָרָה בְּמִקְדַּשׁ 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 פָּרַשַׁת הַתּוֹרָה
וּמֵהֶם בַּמִטְבַּח מְכִינִים אֶת הַמַנָה הַבָּאָה.
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.

וְאֶל אַחַד עַשַׂר אָמַר יְיָ בְּלַחַשׁ
הִגִיעַ זְמַנְכֶם לְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת שִׁמִי בַּרַבִּים
וְיוֹדֵעַ אֲנִי שֶׁלֹא בִּיקַשְׁתֶּם זֹאת
וּבְכׇל 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 וּקְּהִילוֹת
שֶׁאַנַחְנוּ אֶת קְדוֹשָׁת הַחָיִים בָּאנוֹ לִחְיוֹת
כִּי קַמְנוּ עַמָדְנוּ הִמְשָׁכְנוֹ בְּדָרְכְּכֶם
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 קַבָרִנוּ
וְעֲלֵיהֶם בָּכִינוּ
וּבְכׇל זאֹת לֹא נִשְׁבַּרְנוּ.
וּבְכׇל 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
עַל שֵׁם קׇדְשֶֽׁךָ
וְעַשֵׂה עַל טַף וַיְלַדִים 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 נְשָׁמָה בְּאַפֶּינוּ
נְבַקֶשׁ עוֹלַמֵנוּ
וְעֶרֶב וַבּוֹקֶר בְכֹל 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.[1]Deuteronomy 6:4.

Source(s)

Download Eleh-Ezkerah-nusah-Pittsburgh-Jonathan-Perlman-Tamar-Elad-Applebaum-and-Martin-Samuel-Cohen-2019.pdf (PDF, 61KB)

Notes

1. Deuteronomy 6:4.

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