Don’t Leave us Stranded
By Pesha Leah Azoulay
I never knew where Mumbai was.
India was so far away. So distant.
I never knew.
That all changed.
Three months ago, when I started working.
Planning a trip with all its details.
For a rabbi to go to India.
To perform kashrus inspections.
We worked on this trip.
All of the details.
Together with Rabbi Holtzberg.
Who would be accompanying.
Rabbi Holtzberg, when I spoke to you on Tuesday,
You were so accommodating.
“I would never want to be a stranded Jew in India”
Those were your words.
And you insisted we change the schedule,
So the Rabbi could stay by you, one more night.
So you can help him out even more.
Rabbi Holtzberg, when I spoke with you on Tuesday,
I had assumed you were much older.
You spoke with such a depth, such Ahavas Yisroel.
On Wednesday, we had finalized the details.
I just was working with the companies,
Waiting for confirmations regarding transport.
On Wednesday night, my husband delicately mentions,
“Were you planning a trip to India?
I don’t think that is a very good idea,
There are terrorist attacks.”
But more details he didn’t give.
And I just couldn’t ask.
Thursday morning, in my inbox.
An email from a company.
They can not get through to you.
They are worried you might be involved.
I had to inform all of them,
Yes, this is our Rabbi.
That’s when it started to hit home.
I followed the news all day.
Hoping, praying, begging.
In a daze, terrified but hoping for the best.
Asking women to bake challah.
Please, bake challah with a bracha.
As a segulah for a yeshua.
My friends get together,
We are saying tehillim,
All of us, together, out loud.
On Friday, things aren’t getting better.
Conflicting reports all day long.
I glance up at my computer screen.
A note, I hadn’t noticed it before.
PLEASE CALL HOLTZBERG.
A smaller note next to it reminds me
My blood freezes. It feels like ages ago
These are just from Tuesday.
Tuesday, when I spoke to you.
I am begging Hashem,
“Bring them back to us.
Alive and well!”
The tears are streaming down my face,
My wrenching sobs shaking me,
To my very core.
I grab my Tehillim and storm the heavens.
Crying, praying and hoping.
I refuse to accept any reports.
I simply can’t.
A young shliach in his prime.
Whom I had just spoken with,
The day before these horrible events.
No, it can’t be.
Hashem, it’s enough!
AD MOSAI? TILL WHEN?
Rabbi Holtzberg always made sure
No one would be stranded,
Aibeshter, Oy Aibeshter,
Don’t let your children remain stranded!
Bring the Geulah now!