Monday, July 15, 2013

Missing You on Tisha B'Av

Worldy pleasure are like sunbeams in a dark room. They may seem solid, but one who has tried to grasp a sunbeam finds nothing in his hand.
-R. Nachman of Breslov
The 9th day of the month of Av in the Jewish calendar is a fast day and a day of mourning. But what are we mourning and what are we giving up?
We remember the destruction of King Solomon's Temple, the destruction of the Second Temple centuries later, and the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people over time, and we restrict ourselves from worldy pleasures, but is that really mourning?
When a house burns down, the owner is going to be in shock, but after a short time, they start over, and life goes on. I don't think they would set aside one day a year to cry about the loss of property.
We don't mourn the loss of objects, we mourn the loss of relationships. On the 9th of Av, we mourn the too great distance between us and the Almighty. In considering this, we can also remember that true joy and happiness come through our relationships. How do we move towards that joy and happiness?
The answer is also in the Jewish calendar. The month following this one is Elul, with the three themes of repentance, prayer and charity. These three will bring us closer to each other, to the Almighty, and bring us to true joy and happiness.