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?

Still clinging on

Waking up this morning was a real shock to the system. It hit me, suddenly. Today is Friday. The fast is in 48 hours– less, even. Somehow, I didn’t think I’d still be here. Moshiach, where are you? We were supposed to meet yesterday!

That’s the one hard thing of constant belief and optimism, of still being a complete Maamin no matter what. You will get let down. And it hurts. If you intensely believe that the Redemption will come that day, watching the sun go down can shatter you. Even as you think, ‘so tomorrow, then,’ a voice says, ‘why not today?’ Even as you say ‘there’s one more weekday until Tisha b’Av,’ it’s easy to think, ‘we’re running out of time. We had a week and now we have a day.’

I don’t give up. Even when a car horn in the silence makes me stiffen and my heart pound. Even when there’s Shofar blowing somewhere in the building, and someone jokingly yells ‘Moshiach,’ and even as you scowl for them making fun of something so sacred, you wonder if they could be right. And you cry when they’re not.

This turned into a very long good morning. But you understand, don’t you? What it’s like to have a shattered spirit but still cling to hope. One can’t always just say, ‘So if not today, then tomorrow,’ with a smile. If the ‘not today’ doesn’t cause pain, where will you get the strength for the ‘tomorrow?’ Sometimes, the roller coaster of hope and despair gets the better of me.

But today, I’ll go down fighting. Moshiach won’t just randomly show up. He’s waiting for us to bring him in.

My sister Faigy

I wasn’t going to write about this more. I commented on it yesterday, and honestly, the topics here hit us all in such raw places that I was scared to say something.

But I cried last night for a long time. Even as I wondered if these are the final footsteps of the Redemption (today! today!), I cried for the cost they came at. I cried for someone who, were she living, I doubt I would have much to say to. She helped other Jews leave the fold, while I am, in my own small way, ‘in Kiruv’. But she had a Jewish soul. She had a soul, period. She was a tragic casualty in the crazy confused world we live in. And it burns me to the core.

I can’t help but compare it to the other precious souls we lost last year. Though they tried to hitchhike, no-one blames them or says that, heaven forbid, they deserve their fate. Here, people are saying that the ‘religious nuts must be so happy she got what she deserved’ for leaving. Looking at the levayah, I don’t think any Jew would actually believe that.

They were prayed for by millions. How many people prayed for her? Very few, because who knew?

They were mourned by the world. Her family and friends are mourning, but are we?

They brought us together and reminded us that we are stronger as a whole. What will we learn here?

Faigy Mayers is teaching us how vast and wide-spread that whole is. It’s time to bring our people back together, forever.

It’s too late to prevent our loss. But if we take it to heart, if we can all live peacefully, G-d will bring us home. So don’t be afraid to cry. You’re in good company.