These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Poland Jewish Heritage Trip Day 1 Blog from Sarah Klein

Posted on January 13, 2022 by Sarah Klein


Today, Tehilim 130:1 was on my mind all day. “A song of ascent: Out of the depths I call to you Gd.”

שִׁ֥יר הַֽמַּעֲל֑וֹת מִמַּעֲמַקִּ֖ים קְרָאתִ֣יךָ יְה

This verse is also my personal addition to the end of the amidah which starts with the first letter of my name ש and ends with the last letter ה.

What does it mean to call out to Gd from our depths?

For me personally, this verse in Psalms has resonated especially when I’m going through a rough patch in my life or the world isn’t what I wanted to be. I also seem to call out from my depths in my happiest moments with laughter. When I call out to God, it seems like I am at the highest of highs or the lowest of lows in life. And today, I was thinking about the times when the Jewish people around the world cried out to God, especially during the roughest times such as The Shoah but also the high points like the thriving Jewish life in Poland today. We started off the day in what used to be the synagogue of Tykocin. I imagine many Jews cried out to Gd in their prayer. We then visited the site in which 1,600 Jews of that same town were rounded up and killed with their bodies buried in deep holes in the ground. I can only imagine their cries out from the depths of their souls and the depths of their graves. The next part of our journey was a walking tour of different monuments in what used to be the Warsaw ghetto. Many Jews along with their Jewish leaders somehow maintained Jewish life in these closed-off cold walls, with them singing/ praying to Gd even in darks times. We finished our night by spending time with a few young friends from the local Hillel, sharing their diverse pathways to Judaism in Poland. They gave us insight to what being a young Jew in Poland is like today. Their calls out to Gd felt like a song of excitement and praise, joy and bravery.

Now before bed, I am sitting here wondering after a day full of highs and lows, when I call out to Gd, and when Jews have called out to Gd in our history (at both dark and bright times), how does Gd hear us? What does it mean for Gd to hear us? Why do we call out to Gd?