Tonight begins Tisha B’Av, the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar. It marks the day of the destruction of our two Temples and a number of other national calamities.
On this day we fast and mourn, read the Book of Lamentations.
We also look to the religious meaning in our lives, our purpose, and examine ourselves in terms of our proper conduct.
I had not planned to post at all today. And even though, in the end, I decided to send out this short posting, I will still avoid news and political analysis. There will always be time to return to this.
Instead, I am writing to share a beautiful message from Warren Goldstein, Chief Rabbi of South Africa (with thanks to Diana S. and Rebecca M.).
It is a message we need to hear at this difficult time.
We are taught that Tisha B’Av derives from the Sin of the Spies (Meraglim): Moses sent spies to check out the land of Ca’anan, before the people of Israel were to enter. They returned, and 10 of the 12 who had been sent told the people, we cannot do this, we will not succeed. But the key phrase is that, “We were like grasshoppers in our eyes.” We felt ourselves small and so others saw us as small.
This is the ultimate lesson for these difficult times – that we not see ourselves as small in our own eyes, and that we believe in what it is possible for us to do, and what we are meant to be doing, with the help of the Almighty.
Tradition also tells us that the Moshiach will be born on Tisha B’Av. Thus the symbol of ultimate hope and redemption.
Credit: Keep Jerusalem
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