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The Season of Sorrow:  Tisha B'Av  and the Three Weeks

07/04/2023 10:44:05 AM


 Know for certainty that every descent we experience in life is only for the sake  of rising up even higher

-Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

 On the Ninth of Av, the Temple was destroyed and the Jewish people exiled

Beginning Thursday, we embark on the last part of the year: the part infused not with joy, light and hope that Judaism embodies but on a darker journey where we are invited to empathize and re-experience the distress, pain and loss of the world as it is, a world that we are called to repair and restore.

The anniversary of the darkest moments of our history begin on Thursday.  We are called not just to think about them but to try to experience them and by doing so, to feel the urgency and eagerness to renew ourselves and our broken world.  Here is a table of the calendar of the dark days of the Hebrew months of Tammuz and Av and the rising tide of remembrance:

As we recall the darkness, we ourselves become the growing light.  Soon enough, we begin to sound the Shofar and prepare for a new beginning and a new year of renewal and redemption.


When the Fast Day ends, there is an incredible feeling of catharsis- not just the end of the three weeks but the beginning of an ascent to new days of hope and love.  The experience of the Three Weeks with its fast days, prohibitions and the vigil of the Ninth of Av is not easy.  But it is both liberating and transformative- this description comes with an invitation to learn more, add action in whatever measure you can and seek meaning in the incredible Jewish odyssey of which you are a precious, invaluable part-  Shabbat Shalom!


*The Ninth of Av is when both the First (586 BCE) and Second (70 CE) Temples were destroyed and we were exiled. In 1095, Pope Urban declared the First Crusades resulting in centuries of horrific bloodshed and the destruction of Jewish communities.  In 1492, Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand of Spain destroyed the great Jewish community of Spain with the expulsion edict of Alhambra resulting in unfathomable suffering and the advent of the cruelty of the Inquisition. In 1914, World War One began on Tisha B’Av, the horrors of which led directly to World War Two and the Holocaust.   This was the day when the Israelites, incensed by the report of the 12 Scouts that the Land of Israel was unattainable, sought to return to Egypt, rejecting the Covenant and dooming themselves to forty years wandering until the next generation, born in freedom, entered the Promised Land at last.


Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784