Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thoughts on the Ninth of Av

"The three weeks", "the nine days", "the week of", with their various prohibitions, will soon culminate with the fast of the Ninth of Av. The various customs of mourning reach their zenith tomorrow. If not getting a hair cut, not eating meat, not listening to music, and the other customs of mourning have not made an impression on us, have not made us consider the depth of our tragedy, perhaps the fast, reading the Book of Lamentations, and the reciting of the Kinot will.

The corpse is laying in front of us. The Temple Mount is in ruins. The commandments that deal with the sacrifices, which comprise such a large part of the Torah that God has commanded us, are not being performed. Do we understand the scope of our catastrophe?

Tomorrow is our chance to contemplate not only the lack of the Holy Temple, but also the other tragedies that our generation is witness to. How can we not lament about the widespread ignorance of Judaism among the Jewish People? How can we not cry about the fact that the gates of the land of Israel are wide open and so many Jews despise the Desirable Land and choose to cling to their surrogate mother? Is it not a calamity that the wicked nations of the world, along with a few rotten, dangling grapes in the vineyard of Israel, are trying to limit Jewish settlement in the land of our forefathers? Shouldn't we tear our clothes in mourning over the plague of intermarriage and assimilation? Are we not witnessing a silent holocaust, sans death camps and gas chambers but a holocaust nevertheless?

If the Temple is not built in the meantime, may tomorrow's fast be a meaningful one. May we do our best to improve our ways in order to merit seeing the rebuilding of the Temple.

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