web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



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

Share Button

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.

Share Button

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.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

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

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
ancient skull discovered Gush Etzion
Hikers Find Human Skull and Bones in Gush Etzion Cave
Latest Blogs Stories
Baruch Mizrachi Funeral

When will the State of Israel decide the Palestinian Arabs are a hostile enemy and treat them as such?

Israeli troops guarding the northern border.

Like Hamas, Hezbollah also builds tunnels. Those tunnels pose a serious danger to IDF border patrols.

Firnas Hafzi, Egyptian journalist who luridly repeats Passover Blood Libel.

Visa has ads in an Egyptian magazine in which a story describes Jews as vampires. And worse.

Church of the Nativity, beseiged and desecrated by Arab Palestinian terrorists in the spring of 2002.

World Council of Churches expresses solidarity with “Palestinians” ‘languishing’ in Israeli prisons.

The Seder: We starve (during the sometimes endless recitations and discussions) and we feast.

The unique skills of people on the autistic spectrum adds great breadth to IDF intelligence work.

Passover is a road that we still travel, a long journey from slavery to freedom.

In Iran, 131 offenses are punishable by death, including blasphemy, adultery and homosexuality.

Women must eat Matzah on Pesach too but that is also a time bound positive commandment.

Pro-Israel leaders on campus are as important as the troops in the IDF and professional hasbaraniks.

The seder reminds us of our freedom now that we are home again in the land of the Nation of Israel

IDF helicopters are ready to act on a moment’s notice to defend the State of Israel.

The Samson Super Hercules aircraft ensures the IDF can safeguard Israel from far beyond her shores.

Rudoren and the Times are determined to go the extra mile to humanize Barghouti.

Gazans are among the principal victims of the terror-addicted Hamas Islamists.

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Fink
Mozilla Firefox in the eye of a firestorm

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

Debo P. Adegbile

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.

Both communities value using books to study their texts, and digital devices are a less preferable way for younger people to study.

Boys can play with dolls. Men can embrace their feminine side. Girls can play sports.

Some people are assuming the intentions of these women are less than perfect, but that’s complete conjecture.

Orthodox Jews are free to teach Leviticus and we are free to deny any religious rights and privileges to anyone we so choose.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: