Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud

Mourning This Year

Tisha b’Av (the 9th of the month of Av), the day Jews mourn the loss of the Temple and their subsequent exile, is one of those holidays that never made too much sense growing up. Let me explain by recounting a story told to me by my teacher Rabbi David Hartman. Following the Six Day War, Hartman, who was a rabbi in Montreal, was commemorating Tisha b’Av with his congregation. He had just been in Israel celebrating its glorious victory. As he looked out into his congregation he became increasingly disturbed. Shaking his head and saying to himself, “What are they mourning for? We have returned! We have returned to our homeland.” Hartman got up from his seat, walked over to the podium, and asked for his congregation’s attention. They were sitting on the floor saying over lamentations, but they looked up from their prayer books and gave their ears to their spiritual leader. Looking at them in shock and disbelief Hartman exclaimed, “I want you all to know that the Jewish people are singing and dancing in the streets of Jerusalem while you are sitting here and crying.” He then went back to his seat and the bewildered congregation went back to mourning.

In recent years, Hartman’s enthusiasm has become tempered by the reality that we have not been fully redeemed and maybe we are still in a state of mourning. The tumultuous events of the past few weeks in Gaza and Lebanon remind us just how important that reality check is. It’s a shame, but this year we all have so much to be mourning about.

Comments read comments(2)
post a comment

posted July 28, 2006 at 9:58 pm

It is said that our galut is spiritual as much as it is physical. So, although the great beginning of the end of our exile has started – but is by no means complete.

report abuse

Brandon Thomas

posted July 29, 2006 at 8:30 pm

Tisha b’Av has occured not once but twice Rabbi Stern. Did you forget?. “He who forgets history is doomed to repeat it”. This is how we ensure that we do not forget. Ever Again.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

The Task Is Never Finished
It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman's post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in ...

posted 12:31:46pm Apr. 03, 2008 | read full post »

Some Parting Reflections
Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe ...

posted 1:00:29pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

Obama's Lesson and The Jewish Community
There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s ...

posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the ...

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced ...

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.