Ten A.M. in Jerusalem. The eve of the Holy Sabbath, the ninth of Av as well – the day the Temple was destroyed more than 1900 years ago. Joy and sadness mixed in together.

I get a knock on the door. In walks a newly-minted soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, in freshly creased green uniform. My first-born, he is the first soldier in my family to serve in a Jewish army in the independent Land of Israel since the times of Shimeon bar Kosiba 1,875 years ago.

What would you do – laugh in joy or cry out in angst and parental concern?

Well I’ll tell you what I did. I thanked the God of my forebears, Abraham Isaac and Jacob, for giving me eyes to see and ears to hear, and bringing me to this place and moment in time. And I asked Him to help me be aware of His providence every moment of my life, and that I may live out my years and see His amazing story (His-story) unfolding in front of eyes – for the good of His nation and of all Humankind.

Amen.

Happy Tisha B’av.