Why have you forsaken me?

אֵלִ֣י אֵ֖לִי לָמָ֣ה עֲזַבְתָּ֑נִי

When Jesus utters the cry
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
It is the cry

Of Job, that is,
the cry of every sentient being,
“Why am I dying?”

The only answer that comes back
from the universe is,
“Because you are mortal.”

Image: “Pebble,” by Mike Shell. Pebble on a Jewish gravestone, Evergreen Cemetery, Jacksonville, FL (2012)

Only those who accept this
give up their spirits

The rest fight
as if betrayed

and lose anyway.



Mark 15:34 New International Reader’s Version — In this sacred story, Jesus speaks the first verse of Psalm 22:

34 At three o’clock in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” This means “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?”

Image: “Pebble on grave marker,” by Mike Shell. Pebble on a Jewish gravestone, Evergreen Cemetery, Jacksonville, FL (2012).

From My Jewish Learning – “Why Jews Put Stones on Graves“:

Rabbi David Volpe offers one explanation of the tradition of placing pebbles on grave stones….

“In ancient times, shepherds needed a system to keep track of their flocks. On some days, they would go out to pasture with a flock of 30; on others, a flock of 10. Memory was an unreliable way of keeping tabs on the number of the flock. As a result, the shepherd would carry a sling over his shoulder, and in it he would keep the number of pebbles that cor­responded to the number in his flock. That way he could at all times have an accurate daily count.

“When we place stones on the grave and inscribe the motto above on the stone, we are asking God to keep the departed’s soul in His sling. Among all the souls whom God has to watch over, we wish to add the name—the ‘pebble’—of the soul of our departed.

“There is something suiting the antiquity and solidity of Judaism in the symbol of a stone. In moments when we are faced with the fragility of life, Judaism reminds us that there is permanence amidst the pain. While other things fade, stones and souls endure.”

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