Tisha b’Av 5777 – 1

I’m reading my way through an introduction to Megilas Eicha, and I’m reading about why the First Bais HaMikdash was destroyed, the sins that brought down the nation.

I just don’t understand… They had everything we dream of today, G-d with them in the Holy Temple. Why did they throw it away?

I want to understand them, to excuse them, to find a reason why this could possibly make sense… And what hope we have of doing better I’m going to keep reading. And crying

Tisha b’Av thought posts forecast

I apologize in advance – it does not seem likely that I will be able to run the usual set of posts that usually are posted over Tisha b’Av. Personal commitments require me elsewhere.

Really, all my thoughts at the moment are the same… why haven’t we learned to get along yet? We Yidden can do almost anything, we can face almost any challenge, we can solve almost every problem. Why haven’t we solved the challenge of Galus? It’s not a punishment, it’s to prepare us for Geulah, which we could be ready for at any moment. But it’s been thousands of years, and we are still not ready for Geulah, still not ready to live together in Israel and serve G-d as one multifaceted but brilliant jewel. We’re too busy splitting ourselves apart.

Every other day of the year is dedicated towards looking forward to Geulah and working towards Geulah, and towards making this world a better place for each other. Today is the day that we look back at the past year, at our past generation, and regret that even if Moshiach comes tomorrow (please!) it will not have come yesterday. Or last week, before the most recent terror attacks. Or last year, before so much other pain. Today is the day to realize that, while we will never give up hope, we need to try harder.

There are countless other resources available to help you feel Tisha b’Av – the pain and yearning and the spark of hope. They’re available online at Chabad.org, Torah Anytime, the Kotel Camera, and many other sites. There may be programming at the local shul. And there is always megillat Eicha.

Wishing you all an easy and meaningful fast…

Shuir recommendation

In these days without music, while we quietly reflect on the destruction of the past, and our hopes for the future, the lack of noise can be a blessing – and a distraction. If you need background noise while you work, a shiur is a good choice. Baruch Hashem, the Torah world is thriving, even online, and there are no end of speeches and lessons and short divrai Torah to listen to.

Aside from the large number of Tisha B’Av related classes, this is also an opportunity to try something new – a recorded parsha class, mussar, hashkafah, or anything else that will help you get through the day. Whether you listen to them intently, or subconsciously soak up the Torah while you work, it has benefits.

I would like to give a special shout-out to the lectures of Ms. Chana Spiro (link to Torah Anytime here) for women and young ladies. I would start with her first speech, the one from 2016, and move forward from there. I listened to that speech live, and then downloaded it. It never fails to make me cry, but it a good way.

Torah Anytime also has so many other recordings for people of all ages and interests, including video recordings and live streams of some classes. If you haven’t looked at it yet, please consider it now. There is something there for everyone.

A good Shabbat Nachamu to all!

A Good Shabbat Nachamu to everyone! May you be comforted from all your hurts and challenges!

I saw something the other day that I just had to share. I’m signed up to Torah Anytime’s email list, and they sent out their ‘Tisha b’Av stats’

tisha b'av stats

I did the math, and that’s and 162% increase! Kol Ha’Kavod to everyone who learned. You are helping bring Moshiach sooner.

Tisha b’Av reblog

I went searching through the archives for posts from Tisha b’Av in past years, trying to bring back the feelings that were so more intense in past years. (I strongly recommend that, since I don’t know how many new posts will go up today.) This one stood out as it really explains the contrast between the normal, optimistic, Moshiach-awaiting feeling we usually try so hard to bring on the site, and the pain that today is meant to evoke.

In one sentence, I’d sum it up as the flip side of believing we can bring Moshiach every day: If we could have, why is Moshiach not here?

Now, if you help bring it…

Every year for the past few years, I’ve written a post that I firmly believe Moshiach can, and will, come this year, and that we’ve just seen the last Tisha B’Av. The first ones were in my journal, and more recent ones are shared here.

And in spite of being wrong, every year, I still believe. I believe that the upcoming Tisha B’Av might be the promised day of celebration, and even if that doesn’t happen, I will believe the same of next year. But I’m coming to realize that it isn’t so simple.

We aren’t waiting for G-d to ‘spontaneously’ decide that now is the time for Moshiach. WE HAVE THE POWER TO BRING MOSHIACH EVERY DAY! WE HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO TRY TO BRING MOSHIACH EVERY DAY!

(Sorry for yelling but that was really therapeutic.) Let me explain. G-d can bring the Moshiach at any time. But He is waiting for us to be ready, waiting for us to receive the Moshiach with open arms as one united people. Learning this made me realize that it’s not that I believe that G-d can bring the Moshiach, because of course He can. It’s ‘do I believe that my fellow Jews have the ability to bring the Moshiach?’ And the answer is yes.

So, why isn’t the Moshiach here yet? Good question. As much as I believe we are each responsible for bringing Moshiach, the only person I have control over is myself. So the question is – ‘If I believe that everyone has the potential to bring Moshiach, and I trust that everyone is doing their own personal best, then what more can I do to bring Moshiach?’

That’s what the Three weeks, and the Nine days, are meant to make us think about. We’re meant to truly appreciate the depth of what we have lost, of what we are missing in our lives each day.  It’s not meant to drag us down into hopeless misery, but to motivate us to do better, to try harder, since we have the potential to bring back, not only what we have lost, but a whole new bright future.

So, do your best. Try a little bit harder. Embrace the pain and sadness and use it to remind yourself that no one else should ever hurt like that because of you. Examine yourself and see where you have room to improve, and if you think you’re doing your best (as I have faith you all are,) you are welcome to climb aboard here and help others improve.

EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU HAS THE POWER TO BRING MOSHIACH TODAY! REMEMBER THAT! YOU ARE AMAZING! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Tisha B’Av update 3

There’s violence and vandalism all over today. All over.

Someone snuck into an Agudah camp (first thought– thank G-d it’s not my brother’s Agudah camp, my parents would be so scared. Second thought– but it’s a lot of other people’s brothers’ Agudah camp.) No one was hurt, but swastikas were put on many parts of the property.

A Shul in Bnei Brak was vandalized– the damage was not listed, but it looked overturned and burnt in some areas. (Second search– the Aharon Kodesh was set on fire. Chasdi Hashem, the scrolls inside are all unharmed.)

Another Shul in Modiin was booby-trapped. The doors were blocked from outside, trapping the people praying inside.

Last night, a confrontation broke out at Maarat Hamachpelah.

In all of these incidents, no one was hurt. I am pathetically grateful that the shaking has started only on physical objects, (excluding at Maarat Hamachpelah, where pepper spray was used, but no injuries are reported.) But how much longer can we expect this

Tisha B’Av update 2

It’s early afternoon here, but Tisha b’Av’s over in Israel. (They’re singing at the Kotel, and it gives me the chills.) I’ve cried myself dry over the past few weeks, and now I’m not sure what to feel. Cold. Last year, I wrote in my journal

this year we fasted for the last Tisha B’Av.

And I can write it again, this year, with equal faith. And again, try to hope it’s true.

But if the rest of the year, as Mim writes, is about the future, and hoping every day, today is for thinking about the past. For me, it’s about thinking, ‘We had a whole year to try. We tried. And we hoped. And we yearned. But guess what? It’s time to wake up and realize that we didn’t get it right this year.

And even if the Moshiach came tomorrow, that wouldn’t change the past thousands of years. All the tragedies. If so many years of history are hard to comprehend, think about this year. We can never totally erase the impact of this, or this, or this, or anything else on the news.

Like I said, I’m not sure what to say. Today is a combination of mourning the past and working towards the future. A day of hope, and a day of despair. Not only hope, because we too need to work to make the Redemption happen, not just rest on our laurels. Not just despair, because without hope, we will fall to depression. This life wouldn’t upset us so much if we had nothing better to hope for. But today, we need to stop saying, “Tomorrow,” and instead ask

“What about Yesterday?”

Because if we don’t think about the past, how can we think about the future?