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 of Farmington Hills, a freshman at Western Michigan University, is pursuing a major of Elementary/Early Childhood Education along with a minor in Comparative Religons. He is an active member of WMU's Hillel and teaches 1st and 2nd grade at Congregation of Moses on Sunday Mornings. His goal is to one day receive a masters in Jewish Education and be ordained a Conservative rabbi. Sam’s goal is to “live a life full of passion and meaning.” He has volunteered at Forgotten Harvest and, as a member of the Jewish Fund Teen Board, helped allocate grants totaling $50,000. He’s volunteered at the JCC, working with kindergarteners and first-graders and at the Hillel Early Childhood Center Day Camp as a counselor. He also served as chair of the J-Serve Teen Board Committee. Since studying underneath Cantor Leonard Gutman, Sam has become a regular Torah reader, Davener, Haftorah reader and Megillah reader at Congregation Shaarey Zedek. He attended the JustCity Leadership Institute at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the AIPAC Policy Conference and the Schusterman Conference as a USY representative. He also was the Torah Bytes Fellow for USY Central Region and CSZ's representative for Motor City USY. Sam has worked at CSZ, Aish Detroit and Adat Shalom teaching Hebrew to third-through sixth-graders, and recently helped a congregant learn to read Torah and Haftorah for her 50th bat mitzvah anniversary. He has a love for everything Jewish and started this blog on Times of Israel so that he could share his love of Torah and his thoughts with the world!
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