The Jewish people are having a pretty rough time at the moment. The disturbing events in
But we shouldn’t really expect any different; these problems are just part of the harsh reality of galut – exile, of living in an unredeemed world. Some years, relating to the horrible reality of exile at Tisha B’Av has been difficult, but this year I suspect it may be easier.
We may accuse the media of bias, holding us to standards of behaviour it expects of no other people, but when we think about it, it can be no other way. Either we are God’s people, or we are not. Either we have a ‘special’ covenantal relationship with Him, or we do not. Either we are the ‘am segulah’ – the treasured nation of God, or we are not. We are, indeed, all of these things and by calling us to higher standards than those demanded of others, the nations of the world corroborate our special status. They may not admit it, or even be aware if it, but by expecting far more from us than they expect of themselves, they unwittingly uphold our unique place in the family of Mankind.
As we dip our bread in ash at the pre-Tisha B’Av meal, let us think also of the many people whose lives have been reduced to ash in
As we sit on the floor to mourn for the
As we mourn our beloved
As we cry the bitter tears of exile, let us think also of the tears of suffering of adults and children who have lost their livelihood and homes.
As we read Eichah and the Kinnot, let us also lament Mankind, our failures, moral weakness and inability to get on with one another.
But Tisha B’Av is also about hope and the future. It may be a day of mourning, but it is a kind of ‘festival’ of hope for a better world.
As we read the final line of Eichah, let us really believe that God will finally ‘restore our days as of old’ this year.
As we read Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi’s ‘Tzion’ poem, let us reflect on the beauty of
As we sing the dirge ‘Eli Tzion’, let us remember that the whole, inscrutable process of history is ‘like a woman in her labour pains’; there will be a happy ending to the saga.
Wishing all readers a meaningful and redemptive day, the last Tisha B’Av.