Shabbat & Tisha B'Av
Shabbat Shalom, you fantastic humans! May we all share in a measure of rest, meaning, joy, community, and love!
After Shabbat, directly, we move into Tisha B'Av, a day of yearning, a day of focusing. Mourning focuses our attention on the deceased, and our appreciation for that individual grows. We become acutely aware how much we really want them in our lives. And the sadness comes in when we realize they are no longer here.
Guess what, though? G-d isn't dead. Though we mourn the destruction of temple as if G-d is not present, what would Tisha B'Av look like if we focused on what life would be like with the presence of G-d in it? What if we used our focus to realize how much we want to experience the Divine, and then set out to do just that?
Tonight, tomorrow, I dive into the joy that is Shabbat. Tomorrow night I mourn. And Sunday, I realize G-d did not die, and that awareness and that focus tunes me into realizing I am not mourning G-d; rather, I am seeking G-d.
"We spend a great deal of time and energy propping up our identity, an identity we realize at bottom is really a construct. So it is that we are always living at some distance from ourselves. We live in a fearful state of siege, trying to prop up an identity that keeps crumbling, that we secretly intuit to be empty. Then Tisha B’Av comes and the walls begin to crumble, and then the entire city collapses. But something persists—something fundamentally nameless and empty, something that remains when all else has fallen away.
Something remained when the Temple was destroyed two thousand years ago. This was perhaps the most significant turning point in Jewish history. Judaism continued without the Temple, an inconceivable possibility at the time. But the truth is that if the Temple had never been destroyed, the renewal Judaism needed so badly could never have taken place. If the walls of the Temple had never fallen down, the fundamental spiritual impulse of Judaism—the powerful emptiness at its core—may very well have been smothered. . . . .
This is the bet life always makes against us. Life bets that we won't be willing to endure the suffering it requires. Life bets that we will try to shut out the suffering, and so shut out life in the bargain. . . . Tisha B'Av has a hot tip for us: Take the suffering. Take the loss. Turn toward it. Embrace it. Let the walls come down.