Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Identifying With Tisha B'Av

Whenever Tisha B’Av comes around, I always find the routine surprising. It is not a day I need to take off from work. Certainly with so many Jewish Holidays that I do take off (No complaints about that), it makes my life a little easier knowing I do not have to make arrangements for this one.

I had hoped to get to services this morning, or last night, but that did not happen. Some years I am able to make it to services while other years I am not. I have never considered it terrible if I am not able to get to services but, honestly, not going to services on such a day always seems a little strange. I realize it is not a Biblical Holiday, but it does feel strange.

Personally, I like the idea of a national day of mourning. In a real sense, this fast makes a lot of sense to me, perhaps more than any other. While I understand the historical significance of this day and all the negative things that are tied to this day, while I understand the context of the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem, this day means even more.

We as a Jewish people have suffered a number of setbacks and tragedies. I do not subscribe to the philosophy that says we need to maintain our Jewish identify because of all the terrible things that happened to us. That is almost a reason to do the opposite. There are many reasons why we should, and need to keep our Jewish identity, but that is a post for another time. While the setbacks and misfortunes should not run our daily lives though, it is important to acknowledge them. The idea of saying that on this one day, we recall all the evil, negative and bad things that occurred makes a lot of sense.

While it should not be the reason we keep our Jewish identity, we should remember the tragedy we as a nation, we as a people, we as a religion have experienced. To me, that is what Tisha B’Av helps us do. We remember the past and the difficulties and problems we have had and it helps us live a brighter future.

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