Three snapshots from Tisha b'Av 2009

Peace Now poster, Tisha bAv 2009Over in Jerusalem, Peace Now has put up posters warning of the destruction of the Third Temple — the State of Israel — threatened by the ongoing settlement process. YNet reports:

The poster, that is certain to stir up controversy in the capital, reads: “Why was the First Temple destroyed? Because of three things – idolatry, incest and bloodshed. Why was the Second Temple destroyed? Because there was unfounded hatred. And what, heaven forbid, will lead to the destruction of the Third Temple? The settlements, fanaticism and occupation.”
“For this I mourn,” the poster continues,” for the settlements that were built in the heart of Palestinian territory and that keep peace and quiet from our land. For the settlements that were built, with or without permit, and that turn us into the loathsome scum among the nations.
“For the outposts that were built by deception and by turning blind eyes. For Jerusalem, the joy of the land, that has been turned into a city of strife and quarrel. For the continued investment and construction in the settlements, that will ultimately lead to one state for two people – and thus put an end to the Zionist enterprise.”

For a powerful look at how relevant the fast and the book of Lamentations really is in the 21st century, go to Veleveteen Rabbi:

Lamentations is powerful poetry. Reading it this year, I think: two thousand years ago, this was our story of death and destruction, famine and homelessness, murder and rape. Today it is someone else’s story, and what are we doing to make it better? Wearing little green wristbands which proclaim “Not on my watch” the way the yellow ones proclaim “Livestrong”? Turning away from any sense of responsibility for Israel’s policies which keep Palestinians in refugee camps? Choosing to see what is beautiful in the world (and there is much which is beautiful) instead of what is painful? But on Tisha b’Av we’re called to face what hurts. And there is much which hurts.

For a different perspective, you can go to Yid With Lid, where the rise of Barack Obama is equated with the Spanish Expulsion and the extermination of the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Personally, I’m divided on the fast. Does it encourage revanchist longings to rebuild the Temple or does it encourage empathy with the world’s refugees? Is it “a restless hungry feeling that don’t do noone no good,” as Bob Dylan put it, or is it the day on which the Messiah will be born?
What does Tisha b’Av mean to you?

6 thoughts on “Three snapshots from Tisha b'Av 2009

  1. Thanks for linking to my post; I’m glad it resonated for you. And thanks for sharing the flyers from Peace Now in Jerusalem.
    Because I’m pregnant this summer, I have a good excuse not to fast: I’m medically not allowed to do it. But even in years when I’m not medically forbidden to fast, I have a complicated relationship with the 9 Av fast. Sometimes I’m not sure it actually makes anyone’s life any different; other times I think it’s worth doing because the community is doing it; still other times I think it can have meaning even though it often doesn’t (and surely I can’t favor scrapping customs which ought to have meaning but we often forget or fail to invest them with that meaning — that describes much of Jewish tradition!)
    But I want to suggest that maybe the binary you’re positing at the end of your post — is the fast meaningless or is this the day when Moshiach will be born — doesn’t have to hold. What I take away from the teaching that the messiah will be born on this day of mourning is that even in our darkest moments, there’s a spark of hope which can lift us out of where we are. And maybe if we don’t take the time to connect with 9 Av, we miss the opportunity to shift from mourning into transformation — but that doesn’t mean the transformation isn’t real or isn’t possible, it just means we’re not awake to it, again.

  2. As my rabbi taught me, I fast on 9 Av to lament the loss of Torah values as more Jews pursue hevel instead of embracing the message of God. The loss in CE 79 was more than just a building, or even political boundaries – it was the culmination of the loss of our collective soul. And when I see “God-fearing” rabbis getting caught red-handed by the police, and other super-pious rabbis defending their crimes and attacking the “moserim”… and when I see Jews placing the mitzva of settling the Land far above any other mitzvot de’Oraita (not least of them Lo Tirtzah)… and when I hear Jews who are quick to worship or demonize certain political figures…
    Sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever regain it.

  3. “However, the person who is guilty of participating in quarrels and hatemongering rarely believes that he is at fault. In his estimation, the other party rightly deserves all the abuse being heaped on him! Thus, while baseless hatred is perhaps the most overt of sins, so few actually recognize their guilt.” Naftali Silverberg
    I read this post on TishB Av, it seems that we still are more generous with our critic of ourselves, we still need to learn to grow in Ahavas Israel, and our hearts need to be broken again and again, only then can we accomplish the final rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash.

  4. Cosign B.BarNavi. As well, Tisha B’Av is extremely important to me because it brings us face to face with the horrifying consequences of our own mistakes.

  5. Just in today’s JPost, Bibi said there won’t be any more Disengagments, and Yisrael Katz said that Israel could never accept the latest Fatah proposal . . . do they think that this combination of thinking will lead us anyware but to the end of Zionism?

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