This evening at the Temple, we will be observing Tisha B’Av (the 9th of Av). This is a holiday of mourning – commemorating the destruction of the first and second Temple, the expulsion from Spain in 1492 and the begining of World War I. It is believed to have begun as a day of mourning following the sin of the golden calf. Tonight we will have a brief service at the Temple at 7:30pm. Then we will sit on the floor and read out loud the book of Lamentations by the light of a flash light. This service is meant for us to experience mourning.
Though Tisha B’Av has not traditionally been observed by the Reform movement, it is important for us to understand the holiday. The destruction of the Temple marked a shift in the religion, from one which worshiped in the Temple through sacrafices, to one which worshiped in the synagogue (literally translated as the house of assembly) throgu prayer. It is essential to recognize that this act of destruction has left a lasting imprint in our lives which we still feel today. It forced us to reexamine who we were and develop a new identity and a new religion – rabbinic judaism.
This event happened to us on a level of people hood. But so often we have events which also cause us to re-examine who we are and then change our actions accordingly. Perhaps, if we can not identify with this holiday on a personal level, we can identify with it on an emotional level. We can recall an event in our lives – the loss of a loved-one, the loss of a house or a job – an how it caused us to re-examine who we are and how we go about living. Then we can take a moment tonight together or tomorrow on your own to simply look back and see how far we have come on a personal level and on a nation level.
May this be a significant Tisha B’Av, where we can be thankful for how far we have come.