We Will Not Be Comforted

The following is a transcript of a speech delivered by Rabbi Annie Lewis at vigil for Charlottesville in Philadelphia this past Sunday.

Good evening. Thank you to all of the organizers and speakers at tonight’s vigil.

We stand here tonight with broken hearts.

As our hearts break again and again and again, we are filled with sadness and indignation and a love that will not give up.

We begin with a moment of silence in memory of those who were killed in Charlottesville – Hether Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullin and Trooper-Pilot Berke MM Bates.

We hold in our hearts all those who are injured, all those who are shaken and in need of healing, in Charlottesville and all around our country.

In the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “Thus said the Lord: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15)

In the Jewish calendar, we recently marked the saddest day of the year, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av. It’s a day when we mourn the destruction of our ancient temple. It’s a day when we lament all traumas across time and space triggered by the fires of causeless hatred. On that day we cry, we lament, and we weep.

Then, the cycle of our year carries us into a period of consolation.

We are now in a period known as the seven weeks of consolation.

But this year, we do not find comfort.

Like our mother Rachel, we refuse to be comforted.