The Diameter of the Bomb

The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the crying of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making a circle with no end* and no God*.

Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000)

קוטר הפצצה

קוטר הפצצה היה שלושים סנטימטרים
וקוטר תחום פגיעתה כשבעה מטרים
ובו ארבעה הרוגים ואחד עשר פצועים.
ומסביב לאלה, במעגל גדול יותר
של כאב וזמן, פזורים שני בתי חולים
ובית קברות אחד. אבל האשה
הצעירה, שנקברה במקום שממנו
באה, במרחק של למעלה ממאה קילומטרים,
מגדילה את המעגל מאוד מאוד,
והאיש הבודד הבוכה על מותה
בירכתי אחת ממדינות הים הרחוקות,
מכליל במעגל את כל העולם.
ולא אדבר כלל על זעקת יתומים
המגיעה עד לכיסא האלוהים
ומשם והלאה ועושה
*את המעגל לאין סוף* ואין אלוהים

יהודה עמיחי

*But you need to know this:  There are two meanings hiding in the last line.

…extending the circle to Eyn Sof/No End and Eyn Elohim/No God.

You need to know that Eyn Sof/No End/אין סוף is a mystical Jewish name for God: That-Which-Is-Without-End

So the circle extends to where God isn’t … which is still where God is.

The hole that the bomb(s) tear in the fabric of humanity, in our interknit web of spacetime connections, seems empty, devoid of godliness.  It shatters far more than limbs, tears apart far more than pressure cookers.

But it’s not empty, and it’s not devoid of godliness.

If you’ve been on Facebook this week, you’ve seen Mr. Roger’s quote more than once:

There was something else my mother did that I’ve always remembered: “Always look for the helpers,” she’d tell me. “There’s always someone who is trying to help.” I did, and I came to see that the world is full of doctors and nurses, police and
firemen, volunteers, neighbors and friends who are ready to jump in to help when things go wrong.

(And yes, it is real — Snopes checked it out.)

In Boston, in Watertown, all week people jumped in to fill the apparently godless hole.  They showed us what it means to be created B’tselem Elohim, in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).  They showed us what it means to recognize that all others are created B’tselem Elohim, too: They ran toward their fellow human beings in need, even at risk to themselves.  Then they scooped them up and carried them to where they could get help.  They ran the marathon and ran on to hospitals.  They walked in memory of fallen comrades and then destroyed the barriers that had trapped the injured and frightened.  They offered cell phones, and places to stay, and their clothing and tourniquets, and I don’t know what else.

Things could have been much worse this week.  They’re horrible.  I’m traumatized.  But in Boston and in West, Texas, and probably countless other places that we never heard about, people pulled together to make things happen that needed to happen; to mitigate evil and create good.

The circle may seem devoid of God and godliness, but Eyn Sof, The Endless, reaches everywhere … and is especially visible wherever we are our best.