Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tisha B'Av 2011

Oseh Shalom
 He who makes peace in the heavens grant peace to us & to all our people. 
Tomorrow begins Tisha B'Av - the saddest day of the Jewish calendar. We mourn the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, the Temple in Jerusalem and the other sad events and traumas that fell out on that same day. It is said that G-d set aside that day for all the sad events to occur for the Jewish people. Three weeks of mourning precede it in which we abstain from having weddings, cutting hair and listening to music. In the last 9 days before Tisha B'Av ( 9th day of the Month of AV) we abstain from eating meat as that would be a symbol of joy. On Tisha B'Av itself we fast from sundown until the stars come out the next day. It is a 25 hour fast in the heat of the summer. No food, no water, no bathing - this is serious mourning. We sit on the floor instead of on chairs and do not wear leather shoes as they are a symbol of status and happiness.We recount the stories and talk about how to create peace and harmony with each other. We learn about loving each other and appreciating the good they have done for us. "Olam B'Chesed YiBaneh" A world is built upon good deeds. I hope that this will be the last year of mourning and that the 3rd Temple will be rebuilt and happiness will reign instead of sadness.
I wanted to share a story I have known since childhood about the place where the Beit Hamikdash once stood:

A long time ago in Jerusalem lived two brothers who were both farmers. They tended their crop on opposite sides of a hilltop. One brother was married and had a large family. The other lived alone. They farmed the land, and harvested equal amounts of produce. Every night the two brothers, each in his own home at opposite ends of the field, would lie awake in thought.
The brother with the large family would think to himself, "My brother is alone, and has no one to take care of him. Surely he needs more of the crop than I." Meanwhile, the single brother wondered, "My brother has many children to feed. Surely he and his wife need more of the crop than I."
And so each night, long after midnight, the married man would gather bundles of wheat, carry them across the field and quietly place them among his brother's supply. And likewise, the single man would gather some of his bundles late at night, and secretly deliver them to his married brother.
Years passed, each brother unaware of the other's generosity.
One clear starry night, the two brothers met as they carried their bundles of wheat across the field. Realizing what the other had been doing all these years, they dropped the produce, held out their arms, and embraced. Weeping together, they realized the true meaning of brotherly love.
The hill on which their field sat was Mount Moriah, and the spot where the two brothers wept was to become the Holy Temple built by King Solomon -- for only such a place of extraordinary giving could serve as the bedrock for the holiest site in the world.

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