web analytics
September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Meeting the Challenge of Tisha B’Av: a Proposal

Can we hear the agony in his words? Can we step into his shoes and experience his torment?
Religious Jews Mark The Anniversary Of The Destruction Of The Temple Of Solomon

The biggest challenge we have on Tisha B’Av is relating to its sadness. Our Judaism is so upbeat and so positive that it can be hard to find the inner strength to be sad on this day. We are more Slabodka than Navardhok. We are more Chasidishe than Litvishe. We are more Mesillas Yesharim than Shaarei Teshuva.

That’s contemporary Judaism. Asceticism is out. Joyful service is in. Eating is the new fasting.

As such, it can be difficult to muster the requisite sadness and appropriate mood for Tisha B’Av. I struggle with this every year and I know many others who do as well.

Since the time around last Tisha B’Av I have been stuyding and teaching Daf Yomi. I think that the daily Talmudic study may have a secret that can inform our Tisha B’Av experience this year.

One of the beautiful things about studying Talmud is appreciating the way the text immerses you in the conversation. The reader is not a passive bystander. The reader is an active participant in the discussion. Sometime we are the Tanna Kamma. Then we are the voice of the Gemara that challenges that Tanna. Then we become the the various Amoraim who answer these challenges. All along the way we take on the persona and logical faculties of the speaker in the text. One second you’re R’ Yehoshua, the next second you’re R’ Elazar, the next minute you are Abaye, and immediately thereafter you are Rava. We read their words and we strive to understand their thinking.

I find this exhilarating. Every other book I have read or studied tells you what to think. The Talmud asks you to join along in thinking with it.

This Tisha B’Av we can try to do the same thing with the Tisha B’Av liturgy. We hear the haunting intonations of Eicha. Instead of trying to feel pain that is so fleeting for us today, let’s try to empathize with the pain of Jeremiah. His pain leaps off the page. Can we hear the agony in his words? Can we step into his shoes and experience his torment?

We can do the same thing we read the Kinos. They are obscure and arcane. But they can also give us a window into the hearts and minds of their composers. When we read the poetic dirges written centuries ago we must transport ourselves to that day in history. We must try to feel what they are feeling when they wrote these searing laments. We may not be able to feel our own pain, but we can all empathize with our ancestors and feel their pain.

I propose that we treat the Tisha B’Av liturgy the way we treat the Talmud. We read the lines of the Talmud and we put ourselves in the place of their speaker. We can do the same thing on Tisha B’Av. We can become Jeremiah, we can become HaKalir, we can live Eicha and the Kinos vicariously.

Perhaps if we feel their pain, it will awaken the dormant pain in our hearts this Tisha B’Av. And maybe if we awaken that latent pain found deep in the recesses our soul, we will merit to have that pain replaced with the joy of a time when Tisha B’Av is a day of celebration and no longer a day of mourning.

השיבנו ה’ אליך ונשובה חדש ימינו כקדם

Visit Fink or Swim.

About the Author: Rabbi Eliyahu Fink, J.D. is the rabbi at the famous Pacific Jewish Center | The Shul on the Beach in Venice CA. He blogs at finkorswim.com. Connect with Rabbi Fink on Facebook and Twitter.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Meeting the Challenge of Tisha B’Av: a Proposal”

  1. Tim Upham says:

    I have worked with these Palestinians in the West Bank:

    http://www.imemc.org/article/65830

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Even Muslims -- including a number of groups one might consider to be quite radical -- are distancing themselves from ISIS and declaring the group to be apostate.
Muslims Say ISIS Has ‘Nothing To Do With Islam’
Latest Blogs Stories
Doug Goldstein

Why some countries are more economically successful than others? Tune in for the answer…

ethics

If not scared by God be scared by man; Hopefully ethics will integrate into lives for proper reasons

rgds

Smear campaigns by people with agendas other than justice do not faze him; He does what is right.

Even Muslims -- including a number of groups one might consider to be quite radical -- are distancing themselves from ISIS and declaring the group to be apostate.

Countries like Turkey, Europe and even the US have proven fertile ground for recruiting terrorists

How many times have you heard anti-semites spew words like Israel are Nazis, or what you are doing to the Arabs is worse that what the Nazis did to the Jews?!…

My blog, Israpundit, was hacked, and I had to move to a new domain…

There’s much confusion about the definition of Daas Torah; simply put it means the wisdom of Torah.

We’ll never be able to negotiate a true, lasting peace with the Arabs.Their aim is our destruction.

Now I live in a country where every shop in the food court is kosher! I can have anything I want!

Pashkevil: “Come out today and battle the Zionist Amalek and all the traitors in Nahal Haredi…”

Jordan: Only M.E. country with no historical basis and ruled by occupiers placed by European powers.

Why is an IRA a worthwhile account for retirement? And how can you use it to the best advantage?

Like the fighter pilot’s letter, I wonder if certain units are simply too sensitive to allow certain leftwingers to serve in, and to entrust in their hands the security of our country and our lives.

There is only one thing more tragic than experiencing a terror attack, and that is allowing those who attacked you to do it again!

Smuggling Gazans into Europe is cheaper than fighting with Gaza, and then rebuilding all the destruction.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Fink
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

People act not because they think it’s right; they do what they do because it’s what they want to do

Dusk in the early morning hours seen from Mt Meron, Northern Israel. March 26, 2014.

What do we do when we want to be mad at God but we also want God to make it all better? Indeed, what do we do?

Rambam would also allow charity from a mumar as long as the person maintains basic belief in God and Judaism.

There is no song that tells the story of freedom like Shir HaShirim.

It is unfair to judge a 52 year old man with the glasses of a person who lives in a different world.

Adegbile was not making a moral statement by representing a man convicted of killing a cop.

Women learning Torah is becoming increasingly permissive, but women wearing tefillin is becoming increasingly stringent.

When the “offensive” statements in our Talmud were stated, no one thought they were offensive.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fink-or-swim/meeting-the-challenge-of-tisha-bav-a-proposal/2013/07/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: