It’s getting to the point where I dread checking the news or signing onto Facebook. The spiking of violence in our country and in so many parts of the world, the unbridled vitriol, the screaming without listening, the hot rage – perhaps I am getting old and myopic, but I don’t remember seeing this much venom before. I feel my heart close up, pressure in my throat. It is so profoundly unpleasant. How do we remain brave in this strange new world?
I am also aware that we are currently in the three weeks of mourning leading up to Tisha B’Av, which will be observed on August 10
, this year. Some years, I must confess, this day commemorating the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem feels a little counter-intuitive to me. It’s summer! It’s a time of abundance! And what is this about the Temple? Perhaps I can grasp it as a symbol, but really, why focus on grief and mourning now?
The rituals of mourning that accompany Tisha B’Av can help me surface the grief and loss that is lurking under the despair and anger. There is so much to grieve: the lost lives, the disintegration of civil discourse, the loss inherent in not feeling safe, the daily reality of mass shootings all around us with no end on sight, the fear that all of this evokes.
When I sit with the grief that is under the other emotions, I can connect back to my heart. I can feel my own vulnerability and humanity. After all, we are so profoundly interconnected.
Tisha B’Av starts us in the thick of the flames and destruction and then moves us from mourning into Shabbat Nahamu, the first of a cycle of readings of comfort and consolation. Tish A B’Av beckons us to choose love and mercy, kindness and peace over the darkness of hatred.
Our world today is in direct line to become another disaster that is cemented in time by the mourning tears of Tish A b’Av, it says, don’t let it happen, don’t walk blindly down this road. DON’T.
Please Join Us
Saturday evening August 10
Come to hear the reading of Eicha
And to dream of a different world, a world of peace.