Tisha B’Av and Teshuvah

Tuesday is Tisha B’Av.

Tisha B’Av, the Fast of the Ninth of Av is a day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, many of which coincidentally have occurred on the ninth of Av.

Tisha B’Av primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples which stood in the holy city of Jerusalem, both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av (the first by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.; the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.). It is also appropriate to consider on this day the many other tragedies of the Jewish people, many of which occurred on this day, most notably the expulsion of the Jewish people from Spain in 1492.

Though we remember the tragedies and are saddened by them, it is a time of joy. One should not be overcome by the sadness, but remember that the Holy One, blessed be He hears the prayers from our broken hearts and provides us with many opportunities.

It once happened that some holy men walked through the holy city of Jerusalem and when they came upon the ruins of the Holy Temple they sat down on the ground, tore their clothes in mourning and cry.

One day as they approached the place of the destroyed Holy Temple, they saw a strange sight. There was a man singing and dancing. The holy men went to the man and asked him, “don’t you know what this spot is?” The man answered them not, he just continued to sing and dance. “Have you no respect? Do you not mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple?” The man still did not answer, he just continued to sing and dance. The holy men became angry and began to scold the man.

The man stopped his singing and dancing, turned and faced the rabbis. “Rabbis, holy rabbis, you ask about my behavior, but understand not. I sing and dance because it says in the Holy Torah that we should love G-d with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might. See the greatness of G-d who takes his anger out on wood and stone and lets us do teshuvah (repent), continue to do good deeds and study His Holy Word.”

The rabbis left the man to his singing and dancing and realized that Torah is the basis of life.

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

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