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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

American Jewish Perspective, A Bissel Off

I just had to wait until I got back home to post this one...

What Is Tisha B'Av?
"The Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem"
Francesco Hayez

Torah observant and traditional Jews generally make an effort to fast on Tisha b'Av, the Ninth of Av, the saddest day on the Jewish Calendar.  It commemorates the destruction of our Holy Temples and the loss of Jerusalem.  We're also supposed to mourn our exile from the Holy Land.  It is a day (actually we continue mourning on the tenth of Av, because that's the day of the actual destruction.

This year the fast was actually on the 10th, because the 9th was on Shabbat.  In years when we fast on the 9th of Av, our local swimming pool isn't open on the 10th or opens very late in the day.

I was in galus, galut, the diaspora this Tisha b'Av and went to synagogue on both Shabbat and the Eicha reading Saturday night.  Unfortunately I was greatly disturbed by the rabbi's sermon.  I kept asking my hostess if I had imagined it, or maybe missed some crucial sections.  Her recollection of it jives with mine.

Somehow the rabbi turned it into a paean, praise for the great freedoms and opportunities for Jews in the United States and neglected to mention that our thoughts are supposed to be on the loss of our Temples and the need to speedily build a Third Beit HaMikdash, Holy Temple.

Of all the ancient holidays and fasts we Jews observe, Tisha b'Av and the Three Weeks preceding are the most nationalist days on the traditional Jewish Calendar.  We are mourning the loss of our Holy Temple and independent kingdom, which ruled the Jewish Nation.  We are supposed to prepare ourselves to return to the Land and build a new Temple.  That's the message.

For a rabbi to use the Shabbat Chazon sermon to praise the United States is sacrilegious.  It's a disgrace.  For what was he mourning and fasting for?   Could it be that as an American rabbi he can't envision the return of the Jewish People to the Holy Land and the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash, Holy Temple?


Anonymous said...

Dear Batya, When we were recently in the US, some folks told us that the land was not important! Ai-yi-yi!

Shy Guy said...

Disgraceful. Here's the tikun to these wayward Americans:

Tisha B'Av, Eretz Yisrael, and the Geula

If you don't have time to listen to the whole thing, at least listen to Rabbi Sholom Gold's segment, beginning at the 16:15 mark.

Stop making excuses.

Batya said...

a, do you expect them to admit they're sinning? But at least the rabbi should have mentioned something about the Beit HaMikdash.

Shy, thanks. Rabbi Gold is always worth listening to.

Hadassa said...

So the rabbi's hazon is living a free life in America? Where have we heard talk like this before?
Even if he's worried about losing his job by speaking about living in Israel, speaking about the Temple should be a safe subject. It's unfortunate that living in Israel and rebuilding the Temple are treated as two unconnected topics, but that's the current reality.

Dov Bar-Leib said...

I have given up trying to convince them. I was even threatened in the comment section of another blog for saying that Kalev and Yehoshua were outnumbered five to one over the issue of remaining in the desert or making Aliyah. Since we are the gilgulim of Dor HaMidbar, expect the same ratio. Five rabbis in Chu"l will tell their congregants to remain right where they are doing mitzvot in foreign lands with no places to hang their harps to weep bitter tears. And for each of those five rabbis, there will be one who says, let's get up and face the yissurim of making Aliyah to EY where our mitzvot really matter. I said that you have your rabbis and I have mine, and I am outnumbered five to one. Well the guy took umbrage, and threatened to blacklist me from kosher blog rolls unless I reported to him my shul and the phone number of my Rav. It got ugly. The fact is that the vast majority of Jews in Chu"l do not want to hear all this. Even if I told them that our watermelons and zucchinis were just as sweet and tasty as they are in Chu"l, they don't want to hear the message.

Everyone has a soul journey. And so so many are being given the opportunity to repair the damage they did to their souls 3323 years ago, but sadly only a few have done the necessary tikkun while, yes, there are others whose extenuating circumstances prevent them from coming. I can't fight them anymore. I am at peace knowing that I have made the right choice and that their choice is theirs to make, not mine. I can inform them that the eagle or the magic carpet is not going to pick them up at their front door for their Aliyah flight. To get their free Aliyah flight on the wings of an eagle, they will actually have to pay for a cab ride to the airport. But again telling them this just makes them angry. Yet, maybe one in fifty will hear this and will understand. So perhaps it is worth the trouble to continue.....threats and all.

Batya said...

Yes, Hadassa, sadly true.
And Dov, yes, old story. 10 vs 2. At least statistics are showing that we're reaching or already reached the crucial more than half the Jews are already in the HOly Land.

Dov Bar-Leib said...

Actually, you will be glad to hear this. The Klausenberger Rebbe says the magic number of Jews in EY to bring the Geulah is 6 million Jews = gilgulim of those murdered + survivors of the Shoah. Before the summer and before Hollande imposed a 75% marginal tax rate on French Jews, I believe there were 5.93 million Jews in Eretz Yisrael. The Klausenberger was sad to learn this because he knew that he personally would not live to see it. Perhaps we are privileged to witness this process in motion.

Anonymous said...

batya, i absolutely agree with you on your point.

and there is not a majority of world jewry in israel. the stat is that there are roughly the same amount of jews in israel as the us. this is about 82% of world jewry.

Eliyahu S. said...

The bigger question is whether these people can merit redemption with that kind of attitude.

Nachmanides insisted that performing ANY mitzvah except for Talmud Torah - Jewish learning, DOESN'T COUNT OUTSIDE OF ISRAEL. He felt that the entire system of halacha was given to us at Sinai to be performed when we got to the Promised Land.

I find that a really inspiring thought. Ramban's attitude that it is basically impossible to be a practicing Jew unless you do it where Jews are meant to be obeying The Law that God gave us.

Batya said...

Dov, a, so we're very close. It's hard to know for sure, since it's impossible to count exactly, not knowing how many Jews are Jews and "others" are actually Jewish.

Eliyahu, good point, thanks.

SabaShimon said...

Thanks Shy Guy for the link