When do we cry? When we feel profound emotion due to something we observe or experience. The prophet Jeremiah writes of Jerusalem, “She cries intensely at night, her tear is on her cheek. She has no friends to console her (Lamentations 1:2). “ We will read this on Saturday night, the night of Tisha B’av, when we mourn the loss of the First and Second Temples, as well as the other epic Jewish tragedies that occurred on that day.
At a funeral those closest to the deceased cry the most bitterly. Those who closely relate to the loss of their loved one, a young child, a close friend, or to the anguish of those they left behind, cry along with them. Others feel sadness, but do not cry due to emotional reserve or because the loss does not touch them as deeply. And some attend to show their respects, but do not share the same personal, visceral sense of loss.
Tisha B’av is a day of sadness and mourning for the Jewish people. It should carry with it a deeply personal sense of loss for all of us. That we have no Holy Temple, threats against Jews around the world, and thousands of years of exile are all tied to this day of loss. Will we also cry on Tisha B’av?
The relationship of each Jew to Tisha B’Av is similar to one of those at a funeral. Some cry as if they were there at the destruction, some cry for the years of loss, others feel sad and mournful, others commemorate — and others, sadly, do not attend at all.
Many will not cry this Tisha B’av. They know pain and loss. Who doesn’t after this past year? Corona, Meron, Miami, and all the others both public and private. But so many don’t see G-d in these tragedies, they don’t connect this to the loss of G-d’s presence in Jerusalem, and that itself is a tragedy. If we can’t relate to Jerusalem’s tears, that itself is something to cry about. The fact that we are in exile, and that most Jews today have very little feeling of attachment to Judaism and their brethren, are also reasons to cry on Tisha B’Av, because they are all related.
May we all have the understanding to know what we’re missing. May we be counted among G-d’s close family, and cry along with Jerusalem at the Tisha B’av funeral. G-d will see our tears on our cheeks, and we hope that He will soon bring all of us back to rejoice with Him in the rebuilding of Jerusalem. (Based on Sefer Galus V’Nechama, Rav Shimshon Pincus ztl)
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