On Wednesday evening, next week, Tisha B’Av starts and we call to mind an episode from many thousands of years ago when the Temple was destroyed and Jerusalem razed to the ground. For a most vivid description of that destruction and a poignant reminder of the time, one only needs to read Megilat Eicha. Through its contents one can feel the desolation and tears that are brought to the eyes.
We are told that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was caused through Sinat Chinam – Causeless Hatred – when brother and sister turned against brother and sister. Our people were dispersed and we lost our homeland until 1948 when the State of Israel came into being. Its establishment heralded a return to our homeland, the ingathering of the persecuted from all corners of the earth, and the creation of foundations of independence, based on democracy, equality of all citizens and the rights of all individuals. Primary in its expectations was the ability to live without fear, where everyone aspired to the words of the prophet, Isaiah: “And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”
How our hopes have now been deflated!
How our dreams have been overpowered by selfishness and nepotism!
And as opposed to the words of Isaiah, the words of Jeremiah come to mind:
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them.”
And so we must take to the streets, to declare that we will not allow our country, the only country we have, from becoming desolate as Jerusalem of old.
Our hopes must be to create within ourselves a greater good than is expressed at the current time amongst certain elements of society. Our State cannot fall, our State cannot be overpowered by selfishness and egotism.
Our State must be returned to a leadership, who, for the people, will in the words of our scriptures: “… care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing.”