Jesse Paikin
Thoughts on Jewish education, Torah & Talmud, and Rabbinic Wisdom

We’re Not Hypocritical… Maybe Just Irrational (Sometimes)


Last night, we sat in a small courtyard, perched above the Kotel plaza. Less than 100 meters away from the site of the destruction that Tisha b’Av commemorates, we shared our thoughts about the day and its relevance in 2013 / 5773.

I shared with the group my struggle with Tisha b’Av – how do we reconcile outward acts of mourning with no inner desire to see the Temple rebuilt.

Someone shared with me a potential way to work through the mourning problem: certainly, we know that mourning is not only about a desire to get back that which is gone, but is also a way to move on and leave the trauma of a catastrophe behind. It is a form of therapy – a way to grow emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically.

I had ignored this element of mourning practices. While they are very much about honoring, revering, and memorializing the past, they are also about moving forwards and returning to a sense of normalcy. And God knows Israel could use as much normalcy as we can get…

So while the question of whether or not we still need Tisha b’Av may be applicable, perhaps the mourning elements do have their place 1,943 years later.

At the very least, it provides fodder for this modern parable.

About the Author
Rabbi Jesse Paikin is a student of Education, Judaism, Design, Theatre, Philosophy, History, Music, and Politics. He is a grateful citizen of Canada – originally from Toronto, and has lived in Montreal, Jerusalem, and New York City. He's worked with Jewish communities in Toronto, Be’er Sheva, Jerusalem, Belarus, Poland, The Czech Republic, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Westchester, and Albany.