Tears of joy — finding meaning this Tisha B’Av

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday this summer, I’ve had the pleasure of being a counselor at the local Hillel Early Childhood Center located here in Detroit. Every morning when the kids come and parents  eagerly drop off their child, there’s always a presence of tears in  children’s eyes.

Yesterday was a different experience. Children came ready to play and about an hour into camp, one camper started crying. Eager to find out what was wrong, myself and two other counselors walked over and questioned. The camper replied:”I’m having so much fun! I wish mommy could join in with me.” This moment made me realize tears aren’t just for sadness. They can be there spanning from joyous to funny occasions.

Right now on the Jewish calendar, we are in the period of the Three Weeks leading up to Tishav B’Av. This time period is meant for mourning and introspection. On the fourteenth of Av, the fast day itself, it is a mitzvah when reading Megillat Eichah, lamentations, to literally weep. We are supposed to be sad because we lost the Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple.

But, what if those tears weren’t because of loosing the temple? What if the tears were from the joy of being able to still study Torah and practice ritual? What if those tears were from being able to daven every single morning and rejoice in Shabbat every week at the synagogue?

Yes, the temple is an important stature in Jewish history. But, our Talmud  tells us that in the year 6000, Elijah the Prophet, will bring the Messiah and our temple will be restored for as long as humanity reigns. But, until then, We must stay joyous and continue to find meaning in all things Jewish.

This Tishav B’Av, may we find that our tears inspire us to praise HaShem with joy. May our tears remind us that we have Torah and Mitzvot and are able to practice Judaism as we want to.

השיבנו יהוה אליך ונשובה חדש ימינו כקדם, Turn us towards you, Adonai, and we will return to you; make our days seem fresh, as they once were.

About the Author
Sam Arnold is a student at North Farmington High School. Being raised a conservative Jew, he has found the importance of Prayer and ritual in his daily life. Sam has studied under Cantor Leonard Gutman of Congregation Shaarey Zedek for four years continuously. He also sits on The Jewish Teen Fund Board through the Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Finally, Sam works with preschool-7th Grade students helping them connect to their Jewish identity and empowering them through ritual and prayer.
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