Monday, August 04, 2014

Pre 9th of Av Thoughts

I just got over reviewing the laws of the 9th of Av with my family, and in the little bit of time until we start the se'udah hamafseket I thought that I would jot down a few thoughts here.

Unless a miracle happens, we will once again be mourning the destruction of the Temple. I saw on a calendar this morning that it is 1946 years since the Temple was destroyed. The more one learns Torah, the more one realizes the depth of this tragedy. This is a wound that the passage of time does not heal.

The truth is, we mourn its destruction on a daily basis, explicitly mentioning it many times every day. We end all of our prayers with the request that God will rebuild the Temple speedily in our days. We also remember the Temple in other ways, for instance leaving a square cubit of our homes unpainted. It is always in our head and heart.

Even so, we do not live our lives in a state of depression. A healthy Jew is an optimist, always looking at the half of the glass that is full of water. I once read how Rabbi Chana Porat, who was seriously wounded in the Yom Kippur War, thought that he had lost one of his arms. At that time, he was busy thinking how grateful he was to God for the one arm that remained.

But the 9th of Av is different. The entire day is devoted to remembering the destruction of the Temple and other tragedies that have befallen our nation. We take a serious look at the half cup of water that is empty.

There is hope. With the current war and all of its horrors, we were witness to a tremendous display of Jewish unity here in Israel. To paraphrase Rabbi Kook, if the Temple was destroyed because of senseless hatred, it will be built through unbounded love. Please God, have mercy on Zion for the time has come.

That's all in the meantime. It's time to go and dine on bread and a hard boiled egg dipped in ashes. Our sages said that those who mourn for Jerusalem will merit to rejoice in its rebuilding. May it be in our days.

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