Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Yesterday, on the Jewish calendar was Tisha b'Av (ninth day of the month of Av). It is a fast day commemorating the destruction of the first and second Temple in Jerusalem (the first by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.; the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.).

Coincidentally, it happens to be the day the Jews were expelled from England in 1290 and from Spain in 1492 and the day deportations began from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942.

Since most Jews today, with the exception of some Orthodox, are not looking for a return to temple practices (which include animal sacrifice), the symbolism of the fast day has, in some places taken on new meaning.

I love ritual. It is one of the things that most connects me to my Jewish community. That there is a proscribed time and a place for everything, for mourning and for giving to the poor, for getting drunk and for working toward a better life. These are all things that we are reminded to do throughout the year (not that we can't get a little drunk or give to the poor at other times...).

Anyway, I need Tisha b'Av, a time and a ritual to mourn destruction. I think we all do otherwise our time to mourn the losses of our past get filtered a little into our everyday lives, feeling like we never have a proper time to mourn anymore.

I'm not saying that we should not or do not feel our grief and sadness the rest of the year, but we have no place to say, "On this day, I mourn. I mourn my childhood, destroyed at the hands of someone else. I mourn the loss of a generation to HIV. I mourn for the deaths of children, and women and men throughout the world due to violence."

I believe it to be so important. And so, on this day, I mourn.

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Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Wow! Excellent post. I, too, love to have guidelines. I may not always adhere to them, but it's comforting to know that the schedule is there.

Shalom Aloha

Blogger carrie said...

I think mourning death and all the other things we have lost (physically, mentally, spiritually) helps us appreciate life. I love that the Jewish religion has those days. I think they're important.

Thanks for blogging about this. It really hit home with me in ways I can't quite articulate.


Blogger Faith said...

Thanks - there is something about ritual - knowing that what you are doing is somehow connected (even if it's not exactly the same as) people of previous generations that is so comforting.

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