24 July 2007

Tisha B'Av

On this Tisha B'Av , let us recall that the Second Temple was said to have been destroyed because of sinat chinam, causeless hatred, among the Jewish people -- and let us move in commitment and in joy toward the visions of comfort, reconciliation, and a redeemed global community of love and peace that dominate the afternoon of this fast day and the weeks that follow.

A friend has blogged most eloquently about this day. Read it here!

Here's what I said in response:

Indeed! As usual, I agree with you wholeheartedly, and it's a pleasure to read your extremely articulate unpacking of both the pains and the attendant positive realizations (pleasures would be pushing it!) that accompany the holiday itself and our contemporary struggles with it.

Last night, for the first time since we became observant, we didn't go to Tisha B'Av services. And I think I had a much more meaningful Tisha B'Av evening because of it!

Instead of going to ma'ariv (perfunctory) and to sit on the floor of the shul social hall for the reading of Eicha (not inspiringly done) by candlelight (inadequate for reading from the small-print books), what did we do?

We fasted and observed the rest of the prohibitions of the day, so we weren't listening to music or watching silly TV or movies... I sat and talked about Jewish topics with a friend who had come over to our place for the pre-fast meal. When she left, I caught up on reading some e-mails or websites on Jewish topics that I hadn't had time to attend to, including several that were specifically about Tisha B'Av (like the Shefa Tisha B'Av Archive ). And then I went to bed!

In about 15 minutes I'll go to mincha, and I'll put on my tallit and tefillin and join with other Jews at this turning point in the holiday, as we move from gloom to the glimmer of redemption.

That much Tisha B'Av I can handle!

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