Sunday, August 5, 2012

And After Tisha B’AV

This year the ninth of Av fell out on Shabbat. That meant that we did not fast and mourn for the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples, and countless other tragedies, as we do every year. Instead we celebrated Shabbat with song, prayer, and joyful meals. The fast and mourning were pushed off until Shabbat ended. Therefore we had a taste of what the Ninth of Av of the future will be like, the Ninth of Av after the Moshiach has come and the Third Holy Temple will be rebuilt. Then, no matter what day the ninth of Av is, there will be no mourning and fasting. Rather it will be a holiday.
Conscious of that we made our Shabbat meals very special. Several of our sons were at the table and they always enjoy singing. There was one song in particular that seemed appropriate. Avraham Fried has taken several verses from the Yom Kippur prayers and set them to a stirring melody.  
For You have done so much goodness for me,
You have increased Your kindness upon me.
How can I repay you? Everything is Yours.
Yours is the heaven, even the earth is Yours.
We are Your people, Your people and Your flock
Who desire to do Your will. 
That song never fails to touch my heartstrings. Not because of the words, which are beautiful. Rather because of the story my daughter-in-law told me. The story took place over a year ago. Four-year-old Elad loved this song and he “taught” it to the children in his nursery school. So, the Sunday after he had been murdered by Arab terrorists , the Sunday after that horrible Shabbat when his sister returned home to find him, his brother, his baby sister, and his parents murdered in their beds, the Sunday when the staff of social workers and psychologists came to Itamar to help everyone with their grief, on that Sunday Elad’s nursery school teacher took the children’s hands. She sang and danced with her charges to the song that Elad had loved. Whenever I hear that song I think of Elad and the senseless hate in the world.
We are taught that one of the saddest things about Tisha B’Av is that we have no idea what we are mourning.  We never saw the Holy Temple is its splendor. We never heard the Kohen Gadol announce HaShem’s name in the Yom Kippur service. We never smelled the unique smell of the incense. We never tasted the taste of a holy sacrifice. We never felt the special stones in the Courtyard of the Holy Temple. No, we have no idea the extent of what we are missing.
However, we all know that we are missing a closeness to HaShem that we have not had since the Holy Temple was destroyed. A closeness that protected us. A closeness that meant no Jewish baby would ever be murdered in the middle of the night.
And now Tisha B’Av is behind us. The days of mourning are over. Schools are on break and many families are on vacation. Still, the Holy Temple was not rebuilt.  The Moshiach did not come. We have not yet merited redemption. What can we do to make Tisha B’Av a holiday next year?
The answer is in the song.  We are Your people, Your people and Your flock who desire to do Your will.
Let’s learn. Let’s practice. Let’s love one another. We have fifty-one weeks to get ready. Fifty-one weeks to do HaShem’s will. Let this be the year that we will change Tisha B’Av into a day of joy.
Moshiach: Messiah
Kohen Gadol: Head Cohen

For more about the Fogel murders read these earlier articles:

Thoughts on the Horror in Itamar, April 2011
Another Look at Terror, April 2011
How Do I Mourn on Tisha B'Av, July 2011
They Murder, We Build, December, 2011

1 comment:

Batya said...

Ester, beautiful.
Thanks for posting.

ps Please remind people who don't know who Elad was. You can edit already posted articles.