Kenneth Cohen

The Real Tragedy of Tisha B’Av

Tisha B’Av is known as the saddest day of the Jewish calendar. We mourn for the destruction of our two Temples, as well as other tragedies that occurred on this date.
The greatest reason for mourning today, is facing the reality that most Jews do not realize what we had. The glory that we once knew, when the Temples were in existence, goes beyond comprehension. The level of the entire nation was extremely high, on a spiritual level. The bliss that was felt in feeling Hashem so close, created a sense of security and well being, not realized in our times.

The fact that the Jewish people are scattered all over the world, and the ignorance of basic Jewish concepts, is reason for mourning. Contrast this to a time when the Torah represented the law of the land. Every Jew understood his role, and proudly accepted his special mission in the world.

Thankfully, despite the turmoil represented by the media, things are getting better. The nation as a whole, are returning to their roots. Israel is gradually becoming more and more observant. The Torah is again being studied with great diligence, and with great numbers. This has not been seen since the period of the second Temple.
When we recite the special prayers of Kinot on Tisha B’Av, we should focus on the refrain of מה היה לנו, that we should remember what we once had, so that we can mourn for its absence.

The situation is not so bleak. Our rebuilding of the State of Israel, seventy five years ago, represents a major change. More than seven million Jews have come home. The House of Israel, is being restored, and we are coming closer than ever to a time when these days of sadness, will turn into days of joy. May it come speedily in our days.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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