Monday, August 08, 2011

"Before Tisha B'Av"

Arlene Kushner

Tonight begins the Ninth of Av, the day on which we mourn the destruction of our Temples in Jerusalem, and mark several other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people on this date over the years.

It is a day of considerable solemnity, in which we afflict ourselves. It is the only full -- 25 hour -- fast in the calendar other than Yom Kippur. We don't bathe and we sit low to the floor. Eicha, the Book of Lamentations is read.

This day is the culmination, so to speak, of three weeks, and then with greater stringency, nine days, which began the process of mourning. If we're honest about it, we are mourning not just because of the destruction in history, but because the destruction continues. We are told that the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 of the Common Era because of causeless hatred (sinat hinam) between Jews, and we are not yet where we should be as a people.


But it is also a time of hope. For tradition tells us that the Moshiach will be born on this day. It falls to us to bring him, I believe. Bring him by virtue of how we act.


Tomorrow, Amcha-Coalition for Jewish Concerns, the group led by Rabbi Avi Weiss in New York, will be holding its 34th annual outdoor mincha service for Tisha B'Av. It will be for Jews in danger worldwide.

2:00 PM at the Isaiah Peace Wall, First Avenue and 43rd Street, NYC, opposite the UN. Torah reading will be lead by Rabbi Weiss. Bring your own siddur, men, tallit and tfillin if possible.


I wanted to go back once again and describe the latest happenings with regard to the tent demonstrations. But I don't believe I can do it justice today, and will save it for another posting to follow soon.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

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