Three snapshots from Tisha b'Av 2009
Over 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?