Dear Congregation Kehillah and Friends,
Here is a message from the Rabbi for Tisha B'Av (Wednesday night and Thursday) and following is her candlelighting reminder and message for Shabbat.
You may have heard about Tisha B'Av, but not know just what it's about or what relevance it has today. Please read on and as well find a link for a beautiful musical selection (with English subtitles) from Rona Kenan, an Israeli jazz and folk singer and guitarist.
This year, Tisha B'Av falls on Wednesday night and Thursday. Tisha B'Av means: the ninth day of the month of Av, on which date in our history both Temples were destroyed (the first by the Babylonians, the second by the Romans), the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and mass deportations began from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka, among other national tragedies.
Three weeks prior (the 17th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz), communal mourning begins. The Mishnah teaches that this date is when the Romans first breeched the walls of Jerusalem and began the siege of the city that led to her destruction. During these days, many Jews do not get married or participate in celebrations. On Tisha B'Av itself, it is traditional to fast and abstain from activities much like on Yom Kippur. People sit on the ground for the reading of Megillat Eicha, the Scroll of Lamentations (mourning the destruction of the First Temple) and chanting of kinot (dirges). Here is the link for Rona Kenan's beautiful rendition of Alei Tziyon (ancient words, modern melody).
Because it is a day of mourning, if it falls on Shabbat, its observance will be moved to a different day. The Shabbat following is known as Shabbat Nachamu (the Sabbath of comforting) because the Haftarah begins with the words: nachamu, nachamu ami (be comforted, be comforted my people).
As I wrote in last week's candlelighting reminder, while it is a day of mourning and fasting, from that dark place understanding, growth, and healing might transpire through our actions. Can we commit to one act of tikkun (healing, repair) as our contribution toward increasing light in this gateway to our High Holy Days season?
is totally relevant today! Tisha B'Av's origins are in mourning for the destruction of the Temple, but its practices and rituals (sitting on the ground, not wearing clean clothes, not eating or drinking, not washing, not greeting one another) sounds like we're describing the life of a refugee. The destruction of the Temple was not just a physical tragedy pertaining to the Temple per se; the destruction also stands for the plight of the people who lived (or died) in that frightening, unsafe, impoverished and unsheltered world, leading us to consider what it means to seek shelter, security, safety, nourishment, protection in our own.
MESSAGE FOR SHABBAT
Our parasha this week is Va-etchanan, which means
And I pleaded", referring to Moses' plea to God to be allowed to enter the Land of Israel with the people. The "Shema", which means "listen" or "hear" is introduced here! The prayer we refer to as 'the Ve-ahavta' follows. It is actually part of the Shema.
continues Moses' farewell address to the Jewish people as he describes the events which took place at Mount Sinai some 40 years earlier, and then repeats for them the Ten Commandments, words which were spoken by God at that time. Why the repetition? The generation who stood at Mount Sinai and heard God's words, that generation who originally received the Ten Commandments, was no longer alive, except for Moses, Joshua and Caleb. And so, Moses repeated these commandments for the benefit of a new generation of Israelites; the ones who were about to enter into the Promised Land.
This Shabbat is also called Shabbat Nachamu, the Shabbat of Consolation, as it is the Shabbat immediately following Tisha B'Av. And, Wednesday the 5th is another Jewish holiday - Tu B'Av, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av - Jewish love day! It goes back to the time of the Mishna (over 2,000 years ago). Today in Israel it is being rediscovered as a day not unlike February 14th here. In case you are asking (as the singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg did): 'how do you make love stay', a Jewish answer would be: be kind, be considerate, be a bit selfless, go out of your way to do things, small and big that make your partner happy, create rituals to celebrate your life together and honor them, connect to your synagogue community, committing to something bigger than your partner and immediate family, consider how much your participation and support mean to all of us, and be more giving of your time and resources as you are able.
for candle lighting for
Shema! Dear God, Holy One of Blessing, my prayer this week is that my eyes, ears and heart be open and learn to listen, really listen, to hear the messages of those who are crying out (some cry aloud, some silently) for my attention, my compassion, my understanding and my love; and may I also be blessed with the same from others, that I, and my needs, be heard and understood. May I be blessed to give and receive the deepest love from others and from You.
Rabbi has been instrumental in the Arizona Faith Network's Racial Justice Initiative. There is much to learn here - the historical film and discussion will capture minds and hearts.
Eyes on the Prize: Interfaith Video and Discussion Series on Racial Justice, Monday, August 3rd at 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Join racial justice and interfaith leaders for a video and discussion series on the civil rights movement and how it moves us today. Each week we will watch an episode of "Eyes on the Prize" together and hold a community conversation led by African American faith and community leaders. Leaders from the Civil Rights era to today's Black Lives Matter Movement will join us for conversation and panels. All are welcome. Rabbi Sharfman is chair of the planning team.