She is sad. People talk of dividing her soul in two, of breaking her heart into a million little pieces, of placing her very essence on the cutting board.
Do you know what a broken heart looks like? Do you know how sad? I didn’t until that forgettable day.
It was beautiful, perfect: the weather was beautiful, the mood perfect. (Things sad always seem sadder when they happen in a beautiful, perfect setting.) I was walking in a park. The leaves were just beginning to turn and a few golden rebels were floating to the ground. And right there, in middle of all the beauty and perfection, a heart was sitting on a bench. I came a little closer – after all, it’s not every day that one sees a heart sitting on a bench in a park – and I saw that the heart wasn’t complete. It was broken.
I was about to walk up to the heart, to talk to it, when, suddenly, it got up from the bench and began to walk, a limp in its step and tear on its cheek. I followed it. The broken heart’s head was bent low, as if it was ashamed to walk the streets. My heart began to beat a little faster.
The broken heart walked slowly, at the edge of the path. I got the feeling that it felt too insignificant to walk in the middle. The heart stopped by a garbage bin – one of the many that keep the park clean and beautiful – and it bent over, rummaging for what most people call filth but what a broken heart calls food. I felt a little fragment chip off my heart.
Then I saw the heart staring at a sleeping child in a baby carriage and, as I stood there, I saw tears rolling down its cheeks. I knew the broken heart was remembering back then, before it broke, when it was complete. I could see it all on the heart’s scarred face, how it was once pure like the child, how it once knew love and emotion, how it once smiled, once pumped with a beat vibrant and alive. Watching the broken heart looking at perfection, at a pure child, and knowing it was really seeing the child, the purity it used to be, was the saddest thing I had ever seen – and my heart cried out for the child that once was and the broken heart that now is.
Maybe it was selfish of me, but my heart couldn’t take it any more. I ran up to the broken heart and gave it a hug. It looked up at me, not annoyed, but indifferent. It was indifferent! The heart was so broken it couldn’t even feel emotion – it didn’t even know a hug!
That day changed me and it changed my heart. Right then and there I made myself a promise never again to let another heart go broken.
And yet, the heart of humanity, of the universe, of the Divine is sad. People talk of dividing her in half, of breaking her into a million little pieces, of placing her very essence on the cutting board.
At Sinai we stood – we stand – like one man with one heart. And, surely, how could it ever be otherwise?
Jerusalem, heart of mine, heart of hearts, how can anyone ever break you?
Mendel Jacobson is a writer, poet and journalist living in Brooklyn. His weekly poetry can be seen at jakeyology.blogspot.com
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.