A Meaningful Tisha B’Av

Being a new olah in Israel has made it difficult for me to observe the 3 weeks in the standard fashion we practiced in the States. It wasn’t easy for me to relate to the usual feelings of mourning because I’m so happy to be here!

Plus without our shipment arriving it became necessary to go shopping for things we didn’t plan to purchase, so we’ve been very busy with all that stress. Unlike many women, I do not like to shop in stores – I prefer Internet shopping and have already been burnt by my first i-shopping experience here (I’ll report on that in a few days when we know the final outcome).

But God is all-knowing and merciful and helped me get where I needed to be:

  • On Friday, I was treated to the Temple Mount Slideshow By Adina Hershberg courtesy of the OU.
  • And last night I read a response to an August 8th Arutz Sheva article titled “Seculars Want Temple, as Fast of Av Begins Saturday Night” by Hillel Fendel, in which Moshe Feiglin writes about his MONTHLY HOLY TEMPLE MOUNT TOUR WITH ITS “HORRIFYING DEGRADATION”! (scroll down and click on Talkback comment #5 to read the details). This is a tour that I hope to take next week and will take photos to share with you if I am allowed to. I have asked Moshe Feiglin (who hopes to be the future Prime Minister of Israel) for permission to republish his article here. If he does, you’ll see it here soon.
  • While Michael was at shul last night, I read Eichah (the Book of Lamentations) to Yisrael. That helped us remember what we are mourning.
  • And this morning, when Michael returned from shul early because everything was in Hebrew and he wanted this to be a meaningful fast day, I read aloud about 3/4 of the Kinnot – until my throat was too dry and sore to continue.

As always, when I have time to be quiet and think He reveals my many flaws to me… my lack of patience and tolerance for those who don’t live up to my standards and expectations of achieving excellence (something that has been beneficial in the business world, but not in my personal relationships), and my tendency to anger quickly. Looking back at just the past week He tested me:

  • By sending our own personal plague of the mysterious insect bites and their extermination (hopefully!)
  • Then there was the loss of my Teudat Zehut (thankfully only for a brief period).
  • Oh, and let’s not forget the major stress that goes along with closing the deal on our house sale (not done yet)!
  • And just as I sat down inspired to write this (about 7 hours ago), a Milton Road neighbor (who has left me several messages that I never found time to return) phoned to catch up on the past month since I’ve seen her. In addition to phoning several times, she also mailed a lovely card containing photos of our last day in University Heights – and I hadn’t managed to find the time to call and thank her.
  • I also found it impossible to write after that phone call because Yisrael and his friend Dovi weren’t playing very nicely together and in my need to control I gave them a lecture about friendship and attempted to manage their activities in such a way that they could get along better.

My passion for being in control, ultimately blinded me from the realization that this was yet another series of tests I was failing, as I neglected to step back and acknowledge the ONE Who is in Control of Everything!

What I thought would be a less meaningful Tisha B’Av because of how far the Jewish people have come in reclaiming the land that God promised and commands us to inhabit, became a painful day of realization that each and every one of us are responsible for the fact that the 3rd Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple) was not rebuilt this year. It is our lack of concern and love for each other that causes us to repeat this Tisha B’Av ritual every year, instead of rejoicing at the Mashiach’s (Messiah’s) arrival.

May we cast off our stubbornness and intolerance of people who don’t live up to our expectations, learn from our mistakes, repent, improve our middos (character traits), increase our level of religious observance, and move ahead in the direction the Torah commands us to. And may we live to rejoice with Mashiach in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) together next year on the 9th of Av!

As we request in our daily prayers:

May it be Your Will,
HASHEM, our God and the God of our Forefathers,
That the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days;
and grant us our share in Your Torah;
and may we serve You there with reverence,
as in days of old and in former years.
Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to HASHEM,
as in days of old and in former years.


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