Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Friday,
Apr 18th
Home Columns Youthful Voice In ignoring Tisha b’Av, we ignore the heart

In ignoring Tisha b’Av, we ignore the heart

E-mail Print PDF

ANOTHER Tisha b’Av has arrived. It creeps up among summer festivities, planting itself in the midst of a glamorous heat wave.  In the middle of our summer fun comes a summer fast and the saddest day of the Jewish year.

Each year, I am surprised by how few Jews acknowledge or are even familiar with Tisha b’Av.

Is it because Hebrew school is out in August?

How is it that the saddest day on the Jewish calendar has become so devalued?

Tisha b’Av is more than a fast day in the middle of the stifling heat. More than a commemoration to the two destroyed temples and the numerous calamities of Jewish destruction. It is more than the remembrance of the First Crusade, the expulsion of Jews all over the world and the deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto.

The ultimate importance behind Tisha b’Av is the recognition of the lack of unity within the Jewish people.

WHEN 12 spies came back from Israel with 10 despairing reports, the Jewish people’s panic and lack of faith in ?G-d, and in one another, coupled with their crying complaints set the stage for the ensuing calamities We were punished, unable to enter the land of Israel, our home.

This is the first misfortune and calamity on the list of sufferings that we mourn each Tisha b’Av.

My friend and role model, Rebbetzin Lisa Cook, first helped me understand the importance of Klal Yisrael, the unity of the Jewish people.

She explained that the loss of the temple stemmed from the loss of our unity and love for one another, also exemplified when we were denied entrance into the land of Israel.

Because the people of Israel did not respect their fellow Jews, they found hatred and flaws among their own family, ultimately resulting in the destruction of our temple, our wholeness.

Any individual, family, team, congregation, community or nation depends on central strength the same way that the body depends on a healthy heartbeat. If the heart hurts, everything else hurts. If one person is suffering, everyone suffers.

As we mourn the misfortunes and the mayhem that have torn apart our people, we must focus on the heartbeat.

If there is no Klal Yisrael, there is no heartbeat.

If the secret to our redemption is the unity of our people, why does it seem as though we are less united then ever? Why are there Jews who disregard the land of Israel, who have no respect for different denominations, and who go out of their way to hurt another Jew, whether through words or actions?

How can we even pretend like the world will finally accept us if we cannot accept one another?

Tisha b’Av seems inconvenient: a fast at the hottest time of summer, in the middle of our carefree vacations, relaxation and bliss.

Its timing is no coincidence. It is a reminder that in the midst of all our fun, we cannot forget that the heart of the Jewish people is in desperate need of care.

ONE week after Tisha b’Av is the 15th of Av, one of two days of celebration on the Jewish calendar, the anniversary of joyous events for Jewish people, the day of matchmaking.

The closeness of the 15th, one of the happiest days of the year, and the 9th, the saddest day of the year, reminds us that we have a shot at redemption. Plus, we hold the tools needed to bring it.

My Hebrew birthday is on Av 25, close to both the most tragic and most joyous days of the year. I am always reminded that as another year is granted to me, I cannot continue to cry and complain about the problems and challenges I am faced with.

I cannot continue to go day-by-day waiting for suffering to submerge itself.

I must recognize that my efforts can be the source of redemption.

As Av 15 approaches, we are reminded that each time we have suffered we have been given another chance at redemption.

Fighting over negotiations, pointing fingers at government leaders, and criticizing each other are not the solution.

If our suffering started when unity was broken, then we know how it must be repaired. We can continue to blame the world for hating, disrespecting and punishing us, but we cannot expect different results without repairing our own heartbeat.

Once we repair the inside, the outside opposition doesn’t stand a chance.

Copyright © 2011 by the Intermountain Jewish News

 

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Cast Your Vote

Should recognition of Israel as a Jewish state be a deal breaker?
 

Shabbat Times

JTA News

This Week in Jewish Farming: Breaking ground

Ben Harris Watching the plow make its first pass through my virgin fields was akin to what I imagine a new mother feels offering up her son to the mohel, Ben Harris writes. ... [Link]

Rouhani: Iran seeks dialogue, not war

Cnaan Liphshiz Striking a moderate tone toward the West, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at a military parade that his country seeks dialogue instead of war. ... [Link]

Gap in peace talks wide, Palestinian official says

Cnaan Liphshiz A meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators ended without an agreement to resume peace talks, a Palestinian official said. ... [Link]

Israeli mosque entrance torched in suspected price tag attack

Cnaan Liphshiz Israeli police are investigating the torching of the entrance to a mosque in northern Israel and the spraying of anti-Arab slogans on its walls. ... [Link]

Report: Lebanese man admits to targeting Israelis in Thailand

Cnaan Liphshiz A Lebanese man who was arrested in Thailand on suspicion of belonging to Hezbollah admitted to targeting Israelis, Thai media reported. ... [Link]

Hardline rabbi named Shas spiritual leader

Cnaan Liphshiz Shalom Cohen, a hardline rabbi known for his overt hostility toward modern Orthodox and secular Israeli Jews, was appointed spiritual leader of the Orthodox Sephardi Shas Party. ... [Link]

Kerry: Fliers calling on Ukrainian Jews to register are grotesque

Cnaan Liphshiz U.S. Secretary Of State John Kerry condemned as “grotesque” fliers that called on Jews in parts of Ukraine to register and pay a special tax to pro-Russian separatists. ... [Link]

New $1 million initiative will address Jewish executive recruitment, training

Julie Wiener The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is spearheading an initiative to cultivate new professional leaders for the American Jewish community. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942
email@ijn.com • larry@ijn.com • lori@ijn.com