Although Tisha B’Av is generally a dark and gloomy day there is a glimmer of hope within. The sages of the Talmud remind us, “Moshiach is born on Tisha B’Av”. And so we live daily with what Maimonides lists as one of the thirteen fundamental principles of Jewish Belief, “I believe with a perfect faith in the coming of the Moshiach, and though he may tarry, even still I anticipate that any day he will come.” How can we internalize these ideas to get the most out of Tisha B’Av and every day?
When I was yet a Yeshiva student, a local principal asked me to write a play for her grade school girls. Here’s the plot of that play.
Scene One: Chani and her younger sister Leah are sitting on a city bench waiting for a bus which seems like it may never come. The stage lights dim. It gets darker. They agree to take a cab even though it is very expensive. They are willing to do anything to escape the danger. The cab finally arrives and they run off gleefully.
Scene Two: Older sister Chani is complaining to her mother about a difficult school assignment. The teacher wants everyone to write something about Moshiach. The daughter frets and complains that she knows nothing about the subject. Mother advises her to speak to her father. Meanwhile the mother tells her daughter good news. Even though things have been tight financially she can look forward to getting a new dress for her birthday tomorrow. Aunt Rivki informed the mother that a new dress is on the way. She’s so happy. Her mother instructs her to begin to write a thank you note even though the dress has not yet arrived.
Scene Three: The wise father listens to the woes of the difficult homework assignment. He asks his daughter if she was ever so desperately frightened that she was willing to pay any amount or do whatever it takes just to escape. Chani reminds herself of the bus incident earlier that evening and how they were willing to pay for a cab. Then the father asks if she ever trusted that something she wanted so much was on its way already that she was willing to write a thank you letter even though it had not yet arrived. She immediately thought of the new-dress situation. Perfect! The father told her that the Chofetz Chaim had such a firm belief that Moshiach would come, that he had a special suit set aside just for that anticipated occasion. He advised his daughter to write a letter to HASHEM explaining the dire situation of the Jewish People and to express her sense of emergency and desperation and also her confidence and optimism that all will turn out well. Thank HASHEM for having already sent Moshiach.
Scene Four: Sitting bedside with a notebook. Chani’s written words are heard out loud as she writes. “Our people are in such grave danger in Israel. We have experienced so much tragedy. Enemies plan our demise. We feel so helpless. Sometimes our spirits are drained. We have so many personal challenges. The Yetzer Hora is enveloping us. So many have gone lost! Thank You HASHEM for sending us Moshiach. Help is on the way. I know things will end well. Your plan will prevail…” Lights fade into darkness.
Scene Five: Lights gradually awaken the room and Chani sits up and washes her hands. It’s morning! Her younger sister Leah comes rushing in shouting again and again, “It’s here! It’s here!” Chani jumps up and dances exuberantly. Leah can hardly stop the dancing. She asks her sister if she wants to see the dress. It’s here. Chani is visibly disappointed. She was thinking that Moshiach had arrived. Her sister insists that at least she should peak inside the box and/ or try on the dress. (The tune for Ani Ma’amin begins softly) Chani tells her sister earnestly, “I think I’m going to save it for… for when Moshiach comes.” DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.