This Shabbat is also Tisha B’Av. We put off the fasting and mourning like rituals of Tisha B’Av until the next day because of the transcendent importance of the Shabbat. Tisha B’Av is certainly important, but we are promised that one day Tisha B’Av will change from being a day of sadness, fasting and mourning to a day of joyous festivities. Thus, the Tisha B’Av observance is only temporary, while the Shabbat observance in the Torah is eternal and takes precedence. That is all well and good, but the reality is that most Jews do not observe the Shabbat and even fewer observe Tisha B’Av. That fact alone may be such a source of profound sadness as to be its own Tisha B’Av. Perhaps we should mourn the loss of excitement and pride in one’s faith. Perhaps we should mourn because of the rampant apathy afflicting so many. Perhaps it is our job to rebuild our faith just as we pray for the restoration of the Temple. Perhaps the best way to observe Tisha B’Av this year is do something concrete to support the State of Israel as an essential component of our redemption. Whether the Temple is to be rebuilt or not, unless we have a strong and vibrant Israel, none of it will matter anyway. What do you do to show the importance of Israel in your life and to demonstrate Israel’s transcendent value to your family? What do you do to help bring an end to Tisha B’Av? What can we do to expedite the arrival of Moshiach?
This Shabbat, we pray and learn together in the Shiffman Chapel. Our rabbis are interspersing Torah learning between the reading of the aliyot in a very meaningful way. The Torah reading begins at approximately 10:00 a.m. Come when you like. Stay as long as you like.
By the way, we observe the traditional beginning of Tisha B’Av this Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. with a moving service when we read the Book of Lamentations in a very soulful way.