Sunday, August 07, 2011


Happy Tisha B'Av!

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

...I wrote on our synagogue email list (with the times for Tisha B'Av services),

"We'll be meeting at the Beis HaMikdash, the Holy Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (which is currently destroyed and we yearn will be rebuilt every day - and was destroyed on Tisha B'Av) to bring a korban hodaya (a sacrifice of thanksgiving) in celebration of the Geulah Shalayma (the complete redemption) - meeting by Sha'ar Rachamim (by the Gates of Mercy - which are currently sealed to prevent the arrival of Moshiach) after going to mikvah and attending appropriate preparations for ascending the holy Temple Mount followed by Shacharis - morning prayers, at 9:00 AM.

If, G-d forbid, we're unable to do so, we'll be holding Tisha B'Av services in synagogue at..."

It's easy to write such a thing, but do we really believe it?  We are assured by the Gemora that Tisha B'Av will turn into the greatest of holidays, with the coming of Moshiach and the rebuilding (or heavenly arrival of) the Beis HaMikdash.  We're also taught that we must await Moshiach's coming every day.

This Tisha B'Av, truly few of us realize what the destruction of Jerusalem or the Holy Temple meant.  We can't conceive of the Shechina (the Divine Presence), the Avodah (the service) of the Temple, attoining through sacrifices, or simply the sight or daily miracles that were part of the Temple.  Nor do we really think of what the chorbon, the destruction, really meant.  A city put to the sword was the first Jewish holocaust, the buildings leveled (a multi-year process) and the treasures carried away.

All these memories are long gone, faded into the winds of ancient history.  We have recordings of some of the details, a few stories of miraculous events (negative ones) that were part of the destruction.  But it's so far out of our context that we can't relate.  If we try hard, the best we can do is tie thoughts of the European Holocaust to it.  That's still, just barely, in living memory and the horror and damage of it resides in many a Jewish family through the next few generations.

So in the midst of this time, I wish you a Happy Tisha B'Av.  We can't cry over what we don't even understand we had anymore.  We can't relate to that which even our holy meforshim (sages commentaries) struggle to explain.  BUT we can YEARN for the day when G-d's presence is apparent to all, when our connection is direct and our interaction personal.  That's a lack we can mourn not having, and a yearning we can understand to have.

And this year if Tisha B'Av is not a holiday, we can pray that it will be...TOMORROW.


  1. the hackers gave you their bank-account or proposed to meet you in a cafe near the police station 'LOL'.Light, Or penergy chutzpah and discernment

  2. I heard this same analogy at a Shabbos lunch yesterday and I admit that I either a.) take issue with it or b.) am completely clueless.
    Here goes: I liken this analogy to an adult child who does not remember his or her...let's say father and he/she now goes to the kever and cries. Someone sees this adult child and says, "Why do you mourn, after all you don't remember your father. how can you mourn that which is so long ago that you have lost the connection and besides, when he died, you were so young and you no longer remember him, so who are you to mourn so..... Happy Yarzheit.... Is my analogy flawed?
    Please explain and I wrote to the "powers that be" to tell them to get you guys up and running again... Hatzlachoh and brachoh.

  3. (Reb Akiva replying using Rav Nati's account)

    Leah - a yaretzheit is a final situation. Yet, when Rabbi Akiva saw the destroyed Har HaBayit and saw a fox running out of a den (as the area had been razed and plowed), he laughed! Because he said "if I see the prophecy of destruction was fulfilled, surely the prophecy of it being rebuilt will be fulfilled".

    I believe it was Rebbe Yisroel of Ruzhin who said "Ribono shel Olam (Master of the Universe), if your children don't appreciate your holiday of Tisha B'Av, take it away from them!" He also said "Ribono Shel Olam, there will come a time when Your children won't even know to care about the coming of Moshiach, then You will have no choice but to bring him!"

    I have stood on Har HaBayit, and I have watched as the Arabs have dug down, cut up and thrown away artifacts of the Beis HaMikdash they found. And most of Jewish Israel and the secular government did not care.

    The vast majority of us, IMHO, cannot relate to the broken stones of the past. Nor have we any real clue of what they meant, to the Jewish people or to individual Jews. But we can feel the lack of connection to G-d - especially in this day and time when it's so easy to disconnect even from other people, from nature, from the food we eat, from the world.

    The Beis HaMikdash was literally a physical connection to G-d, bridging the spiritual to the physical. Emotionally and spiritually we can't even imagine or understand what that means anymore. But intellectually we can contemplate the lack of connection, and we can relate the ability of this generation to disconnect from the physical and social to being disconnected from the spiritual.

    A person who never knew a mother or a father cannot mourn a loss they don't know, but they can mourn a lack they see they're missing that others have. We can't do even that!

    All we can do is yearn for that great day.

  4. Reb Akiva,
    Beautiful response from a thoughtful perspective. Thank you very much. I am glad to see you are up and running!


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