TISHA B/AV 2017 5777
What is the saddest day of your life? For most of us, it’s the day when someone close to us passes away. For the Jewish people as a nation, the saddest day is the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av — the day when our Temple in the heart of Jerusalem was destroyed. That is what our tradition teaches us. However, it is hard to relate to the loss of something 2,000 years ago — especially since we never experienced having the Temple in our lifetime.
July 31st, Monday evening through Tuesday night, is Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av. It is the saddest day in the Jewish year. What should a person do if he has no feeling for Tisha B’Av? If a person is Jewish and identifies with being Jewish, then it behooves him to find out why we as a people mourn on this day — what have we lost? What did it mean to us? What should we be doing to regain that which we have lost? At the very minimum, we should mourn that we don’t feel the pain.
In 1967, Israeli paratroopers captured the Old City and made their way to the Wall. Many of the religious soldiers were overcome with emotion and leaned against the Wall praying and crying. Far back from the Wall stood a non-religious soldier who was also crying. His friends asked him, “Why are you crying? What does the Wall mean to you?” The soldier responded, “I am crying because I don’t know why I should be crying.”
Tisha B’Av is observed to mourn the loss of the Temples in Jerusalem. What was the great loss from the destruction of the Temples? It is the loss of feeling God’s presence. The Temple was a place of prayer, spirituality, holiness, open miracles. It was the center for the Jewish people, the focal point of our Jewish identity. Three times a year (Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot) every Jew would ascend to the Temple. Its presence pervaded every aspect of Jewish life — planning the year, where one faced while praying, where one would go for justice or to learn Torah, where one would bring certain tithes.
On the 9th of Av throughout history many tragedies befell the Jewish people, including:
1. The incident of the spies slandering the land of Israel with the subsequent decree to wander the desert for 40 years.
2. The destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem by Nevuchadnetzar, King of Babylon in 423 BCE.
3. The destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE.
4. The fall of Betar and the end of the Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans 65 years later, 135 CE.
5. Pope Urban II declared the First Crusade. Tens of thousands of Jews were killed, and many Jewish communities obliterated.
6. The Jews of England were expelled in 1290.
7. The Jews of Spain were expelled in 1492.
8. World War One broke out on Tisha B’Av in 1914 when Russia declared war on Germany. German resentment of the Treaty of Versailles set the stage for World War II and the Holocaust.
9. On Tisha B’Av, deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto.
Submitted by Jerry Weissman
Cry no more Yerushalayim!
By Rabbi Chaim
I would love to ignore the horrible news, but I can’t. I’d rather talk about much happier things, there are plenty, but I can’t. I can’t ignore the Savta (grandma) who watched her husband, son and daughter slaughtered before her eyes as she barely survived her injuries. I can’t ignore the mother holding the door knob tightly as she protected her five young kids, while listening to her husband scream before he breathed his last breath. I can’t ignore the arab world claiming victimhood over metal-detectors, after two of their very own cold bloodedly murdered two Druze police officers. I’d like to go back to my Bozeman bubble and say “we just need peace”, I’d like to think I can solve this issue by placing a “Coexist” bumper sticker on the back of my Subaru, but in truth, what we really need is our arab neighbors to love and teach life as much as we do.
In Israel, Mickey Mouse hangs out with Donald Duck and Minnie,
in Gaza he sings about using his AK-47 .
For close to two thousand years, since being tortured, humiliated and exiled by the Romans, we’ve never stopped yearning. The Jews in Israel and abroad have been praying thrice daily “May our eyes see Your merciful return to Tzion.”, every Shabbos we pray, sometimes in heartwarming song, “From your place, our King, may You appear, and reign over us, for we are waiting for You….May You be exalted and sanctified within Your city Jerusalem, generation after generation, and for all eternity” and we always pray towards our holy Jerusalem, no matter where we are in the world, while Muslims pray towards Mecca, their holiest site, even when they’re kneeling on the Temple Mount.
Tuesday is Tisha B’Av, our national day of mourning, and in addition to fasting, we must have a collective moment of honesty. Jews are peaceful, we don’t want any person in the world to suffer, including Jews. We need to say the truth – even if a friend or two will disown you – that the Holy Land of Eretz Yisroel was, and will always be, our home. Whether Canaan, Israel, Palestine or Palestina, we’ve lived on its holy soil since Abraham’s days and that will never change. My paternal grandparents were Palestinian, as they lived under Ottoman and British rule in Palestine way before 1948 and our people will continue living there way past 2048! Political persuasions aside, we can, and should, have healthy debates about Israeli government policy, but we can’t, and should never, debate our right to be home.
Cry no more Yerushalayim!
May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L’Chaim!!!