Feb 17, 2020

To My Daughter at the Gates of Auschwitz

To my Daughter at the Gates of Auschwitz
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Impossible. It just isn't.
I don't see it. She's not there.
There doesn't exist. It can't exist.

I can't. I can't see it.
I can't see her there.
So there mustn't be there at all.
I must be having a nightmare. 

But it is there. And she's there.
It is a real, cruel thing. It is.

(And, my deepest consciousness screams,
"Are you really surprised it is real?
Have you been paying attention to today?
How are you shocked at all?) 

I once stepped through those wretched gates, 
brick nightmares promising freedom to the damned.
My family.

I even returned with a Jewish singing group.
I'm even heading back next year
with a diverse group of leaders
determined to learn from each other's pain.

But I can't endure her there,
even now.

She shouldn't be there.
There shouldn't be there.
Barbed-wire blasphemy
doesn't belong anywhere in God's earth.
Not there, not here,
No where. No when.

(No, deepest consciousness, I'm not truly shocked. I know it's there and then and here and now and I'm just a father who wishes his children didn't have to face our own devastation and its horrors and I miss my glorious daughter and she's wearing our People's blue and white like a prayer-shawl and she saw the confiscated shawls of our murdered ancestors in glass cases beyond those gates and she is alive and we will never forget and of course I know all of this but our forged-by-fire Hope is based on cultivating the capacity to be surprised by evil, to be shocked by violence, to never accept such brutality as the way it is, to dream of the world as it ought to be, to see life through God's Eyes not only my own.)

We have to face our past and rage against it.
I know. I just hate it so much.
I wish the world were already closer
to the way it is supposed to be.
I wish this world deserved our children. 

I open my eyes.
(Hadn't realized they were squeezed shut.)

I see her. 
I see my hero.
I see the future.

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