While I am disappointed that yet another Tisha B’Av came around and it was still a day of mourning and fasting instead of a day of celebration which it will be when Moshiach comes and the Holy Temple is finally rebuilt. Instead, I spent this last Sunday fasting and crying. Crying because all of the pain and suffering that we go though today, is only due to the loss of the Holy Temple. I heard an amazing talk by Chevi Garfinkel where she said that if a person lost their father (G-d forbid) before they were born, then it is really, really hard for them to truly know what they are missing. This is precisely what it is like for all of us! None of us lived during the First or Second Temple, where G-d’s Presence was SO OBVIOUS!!! Therefore, we don’t even know what we are missing!!! I happen to relate to this in a big way, as my father was diagnosed with cancer when I was 5 months old and he died when I was 6 months old. I am told that he hardly held me because he was afraid that the radiation treatments he was receiving would somehow poison me. So even though I was blessed to have a step-father from the age of 4 years old, I cannot really comprehend what I lost. We don’t even know what we lost….However, we DO KNOW HOW TO GET IT BACK!!!
We are told that the Second Temple was destroyed by the baseless hatred that the Jews had for each other. Last time I checked, we still have that! You know the saying, “Anyone who is more religious than me is a meshugena, and anyone who is less religious than me is a gentile.” We judge in our minds and with our words, and we keep doing this, until a tragedy hits us (G-d forbid), and we pull together as one people with one heart. That last’s a while and then we go back to our old ways.
On Sunday afternoon, as I started preparing food to break the fast several hours later, I said to my 11-yr-old:
“Zvi, G-d willing next year we will be dancing and feasting on Tisha B’Av instead of crying and fasting.”
He said the following to me:
“Mommy, we should not say ‘G-d willing,’ but instead we should say ‘US willing!’ G-d is ready to bring Moshiach and to rebuild the Temple. It is up to US to stop the baseless hatred! It is up to US!”
This Shabbat, the Shabbat following Tisha B’Av is called “Shabbat Nachamu,” “The Shabbat of Comfort.” It is called this because the first sentence of the Haftorah has the words “comfort, comfort.” However, I believe that we can also take comfort in the FACT that we have the answer in our very hands and WE CAN DO IT!!! Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein said in a beautiful Tisha B’Av talk that we need to stop pointing OUT and start pointing UP! I would add that in addition to pointing UP, we must also point IN. As my Rav, Rabbi Joey Friedman says (paraphrasing, but it’s pretty close), “Our job is to perfect ourselves. And that is a FULL TIME JOB! So if I am really doing MY job, I will be way to busy to judge others!”
Let’s take comfort in knowing that G-d is ready NOW.
US WILLING, we will be too!