I am sure psychologists call is some fancy term, but permit me my own: Delayed Cry Reaction (DCR)
Moshe’le (age 4) and Rochel (age 3) are playing in the park. Moshe falls off the slide and scrapes himself. It hurts – really. Mommy couldn’t see the fall; she is schmoozing by the benches at the far end of the park. Moshe wants to cry, but his youthful machismo tells him it just isn’t pas (appropriate) to cry in front of girls (and kal v’chomer boys). So he sucks it in and maintains a stiff upper lip. Two minutes later, Mommy comes back. Moshe melts; the torrential tears flow.
Why does Moshe’le wait? I sense that quills have been broken to understand this most basic human reaction. Yet, we all know why. Everyone needs a place to be real. A mother requires no artifice – it is (and will always be) safe to cry to Mommy.
Everyone needs a place where it is alright; no matter what it is… where it is alright to cry, laugh, hug and be hugged. Without an address for our tears, God forbid we may just stop crying. (It has been well documented that orphanage children barely cry).
What does Yerushalayim mean to the Jew? Can one explain blue to the blind? Is it possible to intellectualize an experience? For Maharal, Moshe was a stutterer because no word was able to grasp the profundity of his thought. It is not merely that all thoughts need not be expressed; many thoughts simply defy verbal expression.
A friend of mine suffers a great tragedy. He emails me. “I am flying to Israel – going to the Kotel. What should I say to God?” I don’t respond, never having majored in Divine dialogue. Many are very moved by the email. What propels him to the Kotel? We speak afterwards. I say to him that I imagine that you shed some tears. He laughs and cries – simultaneously. Why?
The Kotel is the closest approximation to the Divine embrace. It is without artifice. The Shechina, with all her consummate rachmanus has never left the Kotel.
A rationalist might smirk: The Kotel is what you make of it. They jokingly proclaim: Some of my closest friends daven at the “kotel” everyday (they live in Los Angeles). I feel bad for them. They suffer from Galut Stress Syndrome. Daven for them. They live without a place to cry.
Among the many reasons I celebrate Yom Yerushalayim is because now I have a place to cry.
Tibaneih V’Tikonein Yerushalayim B’mehira B’yameinu Amein
Rabbi Asher Brander is the Rabbi of the Westwood Kehilla, Founder/Dean of LINK (Los Angeles Intercommunity Kollel) and is a Rebbe at Yeshiva University High Schools of Los Angeles
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.