Justice, Religion

Tisha B'av does not have a happy ending

Tisha B’av is not yom kippur. We are assured neither atonement nor redemption on Tisha B’av.

Tisha B’av is not the day that we beat our chests and promise to do better.

Tisha B’av is the day that we force ourselves to look into the heart of darkness, the darkness that we have created, the ways in which we are complicit in the evils of the world and we must be overwhelmed and distraught and paralyzed. There is no ray of hope on Tisha B’av.

Tisha B’av is the day of reckoning.

Tisha B’av is Isaiah standing in Jerusalem on the way to the Temple in sackcloth and ashes screaming that we are the heirs to Sodom and Gomorrah—that God is so sick of our worship service that the smell of the sweet incense nauseates her.

Tisha B’av is Isaiah standing outside the AME church in Charleston telling us, the nice right-minded liberal white community—God is sick of your weeping for dead black people. First wipe the blood off your hands. Your hands drip with the blood of slavery and slave profits.

Tisha B’av is Jeremiah standing at the checkpoint in Kalandia and outside the gates of Kiryat Arba telling all the the nice liberal Zionist American Jews—I am sick of your empathy and sympathy. Your handwringing and whining that there is no good solution. Your hands are dripping with blood. Jerusalem, the city in which once dwelt justice and righteousness is now the home to murderers.

Tisha B’av is not the day for the nostalgic fog of victimhood. We are the most powerful Jewish community that ever lived on the face of this planet and look what we have wrought.

Tisha B’av is Isaiah standing at the Women of the Wall Rosh Chodesh service screaming: you are protesting inequality while praying on the ruins of a Palestinian neighborhood destroyed by the Israeli army on the night they captured Jerusalem.

Tish B’av does not have a happy ending.

4 thoughts on “Tisha B'av does not have a happy ending

  1. History tells us a more complex story about the Mughrabi quarter.
    The Moroccan quarter as well as the Jewish Quarter was largely destroyed in the 1948 war which was an attack by 5 surrounding Arab countries on the new Jewish state. Before 1948 Jews visiting the narrow alleyway along the Western Wall were not warmly welcomed by the residents …
    The area in front of the Western Wall became an unsanitary slum under the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem. Upon liberation from Jordanian rule in 1967 it was no longer the bustling residential area it had once been.
    My opinion is that a more forward looking leadership could have reached a better compromise on the restoration of the area – attaining better balance between the national need for a plaza in front of the Western Wall and the residential needs of the humans living there. The compromise they reached back in 1967, razing the mostly destroyed houses and slum in front of that part of the Western Wall, while leaving most of the Muslim Quarter untouched must have seemed reasonable back then to the authorities.
    Women of the Wall, established in 1988, look to the future and are dedicated to pluralism and justice at the Western Wall for all people.

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