This Saturday night and Sunday, we will commemorate the sad day of Tisha B’Av. The Hebrew date of Tisha B’Av, the 9th of the month of Av actually comes out on Shabbat this year. Since it is forbidden to turn Shabbat into a day of mourning Tisha B’Av is postponed until right after Shabbat so this year we are commemorating the 9th of Av on the 10th of Av.
We are told in the Talmud, Taanit 30b: “Anyone who does not mourn for Jerusalem will not witness her joy at the time of the redemption.
How do we mourn for Jerusalem?
On Tisha B’Av, we don’t eat, drink, wear leather shoes, have marital relations, wash or anoint our bodies. In other words, we make ourselves uncomfortable. We also read Megillat Eicha (Lamentations) and recite Kinot (sad poems about the troubles that befell the Jewish people throughout history). We sit on the floor or on a low stool as a sign of mourning.
What else can we do to mourn for Jerusalem?
Those who have the opportunity to visit Jerusalem can visit the ruins from the time of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple).
When one goes to the Temple Mount they are reminded that Jews are not permitted to walk freely or pray there.
On Tisha B’Av last year, we didn’t have to put ourselves into the mood of mourning as we were already mourning for the soldiers who were killed in Operation Tzuk Eitan. Just turning on the TV or opening up the newspaper gave us plenty to cry about.
Ten years ago, we had another reason to cry. Gush Katif was being evacuated and Jews were forced to leave their homes, neighborhoods and businesses which were destroyed. The cemeteries and synagogues were uprooted.
What can we do to rebuild Jerusalem?
The Talmud, Taanit 26b teaches that one of the happiest days on the Jewish calendar is Tu B’Av (the 15th of Av), just a few days after Tisha B’Av. How can this be? How can we move on from mourning the destruction to the holiday where men and women would go out to find a spouse in order to build a Jewish home?
The holiday of Tu B’Av teaches us that we must always work on rebuilding. Just as those who are dating need to focus on building a relationship, the Jewish people need to make an effort to build a relationship with the Land of Israel and those living there. We must continue to help rebuild Israel by building homes, industry, schools, synagogues, community centers and parks. We also have to build relationships with one another.
Those who are in Israel can physically build up the land. Those who are not in Israel can visit and support the programs that are being created.
If Jewish people from around the world make a conscious effort to build a relationship with the State of Israel and those living there, we will be one step closer to the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash.