Message from Jerusalem – Tisha Bav thoughts from Daniel Luria
Shalom to all readers (although the custom is to not “greet” people on Tisha B’av)
I write these words as we enter the week of Tisha B”Av (National remembrance day of calamities and suffering for the Jewish People), under the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic of Corona.
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The Three Weeks is a period that started with the 17th of Tammuz, and will culminate on the national fast day of Tisha B’Av. (9th Av)
Most people are familiar with the tragedies that we associate with the period of Tisha B’av – the destruction of the State of Israel and the Holy Temples (Beit Mikdash) by both the Babylonians and the Romans, the Spanish Inquisition, a host of pogroms in Russia and Europe, the start of WW1 (that ultimately lead to WW2) and more recently – the expulsion of 10.000 Jews from Gush Katif and the destruction of their lives, homes and settlements.
Yes – we have indeed seen and even felt the pain of such tragedies and suffering at many levels.
But what is the message from Hashem? How can we truly feel the pain of the Temples lost 2500 and 2000 years ago? And maybe more importantly – on what should we focus on Tisha B’av?
Well first of all – it’s a period of Teshuva (Repentance) and introspection and so we must try to reverse the ailments of the past that led to such tragedies.
The standard teaching which comes across in many Talmudic sources, is the fact that the Jewish People (Second Temple period) were divided, there was rampant senseless hatred (Sinat Chinam) and “sechel” (basic decency and understanding) wasn’t used.
One only has to recall the infighting between various groups during the Roman siege to understand. And of course the famous story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza (A wrong person was invited to a big public celebration) and see how the Rabbis of that generation, sat on the fence, and didn’t react when sechel wasn’t used and when senseless hatred and embarrassment was open for all to see. Stories like this lead to the destruction of the Second Temple.
Thank G-d – Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai had sechel and managed to survive, and thus save the Davidic dynasty and Torah life as we know it today.
Yes- thank G-d he received “Yavneh and her wisemen” (Sanhedrin) from the Romans who had put the siege on Jerusalem and managed to save Torah and the sages.
So the first message and teaching in order to find favour in G-d”s eyes is clear – It’s the need for AHAVAT CHINAM – pure and reason free love, coupled with using one’s common sense and being decent to one another !!
But this writer believes that there is another lesson for all of us on Tisha B’av.
To internalize this message we need to go back to the ORIGINAL TISHA B’AV., well before the destruction of the First Temple.
This period of calamities for the Jewish People, started with the “sin of the spies” in the desert, when the Jewish People in the main – rejected G-d and refused to enter the G-d given Land of Israel. They rejected the concept and reality of Jerusalem and G-ds House on the Temple Mount. The Jewish People cried for nothing when the spies returned, and so G-d promised that the day would forever be a day and period of tragedies, and that they wouldn’t cry in vain in the future.
So the second message, and in order to reverse the “original sin and ailment” of rejection of the Land of Israel and Jerusalem – is to do everything possible to LIVE, love, support and build the land of Israel and Jerusalem !!!
We are living in the generation that has been blessed to both see and witness G-d’s Hand and we have seemingly been rewarded for showing such love and support of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.
Over the last 200 years especially, we have reversed the sin of the spies and we are no longer crying for Jerusalem from the ghettos and shtetls.
TODAY IS INDEED A DIFFERENT STORY.
Even without the Holy House of G-d on Mt Moriah (Beit HaMikdash) and even with millions of Moslems ready to annihilate us on our borders – today is still different during these THREE WEEKS AND TISHA B’AV !!
Today – we have a thriving Jewish State and a potent and powerful army that has won wars. (B’Ezrat Hashem)
Today we are a light unto the nations’ and beacon of peace and morality to all.
We are a technological and scientific giant and we are known as THE START UP NATION !!!
BUT maybe more importantly – today we have a country that is full of Yeshivot, Torah learning and Batei Knesset with prayers heard every hour of the day.
G-d’s People have returned home and so there is a slightly different “ring tone” to these THREE WEEKS AND TISHA B’AV !!!!!
The groundwork has been laid.
Now it’s time to fill our beautiful country with more Jewish bodies and more Jewish spirit.
WE WANT GREATER LOVE BETWEEN ALL GROUPS OF JEWS.
WE WANT MORE JEWS REJECTING THE ACTIONS OF THE SPIES AND COMING HOME TO ISRAEL.
We don’t need to become just another multicultural democratic society or country like the USA or Australia.
We are a Jewish State with Jewish values and need to bring the right Jewish spirit into every aspect of the State.
So Israel was once rejected – please don’t reject her any more. ITS HOME !!!
So Jews were once driven from many neighbourhoods in Jerusalem, please help revive Jewish life in these same areas.
(Today – Ateret Cohanim is at the forefront of this revival of Jewish life in and around the Old City with Jewish life returned to the Old City, the City of David, the Shiloach, the Mount of Olives and to Kidmat Zion.
So Jews once rejected G-d and His Torah – please don’t reject Him any longer and if we perform Miztvot – let’s do it with true intention(Kavana)
So Jews were once ashamed of being proud Jews and they tried to “fit-in” and act like the non Jews, in order to be liked by the non jew. It didn’t help, so please – lets be proud of who we are, and let’s be different . We will be respected.
AND IF ALL THIS HAPPENS, then G-d willing, we will see HIS HOUSE ON MT MORIAH, we will be part of a unified people, we will feel true peace, and these Three Weeks and Tisha B’Av will become days of joy and happiness.
So let’s all work together to reverse Tisha B’av !
Be safe and healthy in this Corona period…..and may this Tisha B’av be a meaningful fast day.