Tisha B’Av – Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Every year on the Hebrew calendar we inevitably arrive at the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av (Tisha B’Av). It is considered on the Jewish calendar to be the most tragic day the Jewish people know. This is the date when the Babylonians destroyed our first Temple (Beit HaMikdash) in Jerusalem in 586 BCE, and the Romans later destroyed our second one in 70 CE. The Temple in Jerusalem was the epicenter of all spirituality of the Jewish people. This sacred site remains unbuilt to this day.

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One might ask the question: We have been living without a Temple for nearly 2,000 years. Why in the world are we still gathering in synagogues, weeping and fasting, praying to go back to the way it was so very long ago?

And why are we inserting things into our traditions to constantly remind us of the Temple? We have scores of traditions we call “zecher l’mikdash” to remind ourselves that the way we’re doing things is just a temporary method of worship and service of God until we can back to the good old days. There’s even a widespread tradition to leave a patch of your house unpainted as a a constant reminder that our Temple remains in ruin!

But the answer to all of this really lies in the most extreme example ไฮไลท์บอลย้อนหลัง:

Most people are aware of the Jewish custom of stepping on a glass at the end of a wedding. But few are aware of the reason, and of the those who are aware of the reason, few appreciate it.

Here we stand at what’s supposed to be the highlight of our lives, and we smash a glass to remind ourselves that despite all of our joy, things are not as good as they’re supposed to be. We still don’t have our Temple!

You might wonder: Can’t we ever have any joy without misery? Is there anything such as unadulterated pleasure? Why in the world do we need to think of past tragedies at a wedding, at the peak moment of joy that we know!?

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