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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776
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Kosher Hot Dogs and the Dichotomy of Tisha B’Av


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It is painful to see good people be so misguided, so flippant with their time and money. I bet they even see their hot dog fight as some kind religious victory, an effort to win equal treatment in public venues. But really the hot dog war is a loud proclamation that even the Kosher-eaters are missing the point of this amazing era.

We are not in the era of securing Kosher dogs, we are in the era of reestablishing a Jewish commonwealth and building a country. This project needs us to focus our collective energies so that we can overcome the multiple challenges that stand in our way. Instead of watching overpaid athletes run bases after hitting a ball, we need all those Kosher-eating “accomplished professionals” to “feel very strongly” about their place in the fight for Israel!

Eight years ago Rabbi Shlomo Riskin wrote:

“The formative and formidable challenge of Tisha B’Av is the word Eicha, the first word of the Scroll of Lamentations, which means Wherefore (wherefore is the Sacred City alone and desolate ), our challenging question to G-d after the destruction.”

“But the Hebrew letters Eicha also spell Ayeka, ‘where are you’, i.e. G-d’s challenge to us: where are you in these fateful times fraught with possibility for redemption?”

Yes, we live in fateful times, fraught with possibility for redemption, and we are being asked by Jewish history to engage. But while there is much to do in our time, and lots of power and resources to do it, it is also an era of unprecedented comfort and convenience. Today, we live in a built Jerusalem and we have the leisure to fight for Kosher hotdogs in LA and it’s almost as though life is perfect and we have nothing to worry about.

Now more then ever we need a reminder that there is a lot of work yet to be done in the Jewish home and the 9th of Av is a perfect opportunity to get us back on track for the mission of our generation. The Jewish state needs our input and energy, our money and our sweat. We have to put resources into education, security, infrastructure, health and finance. We have to to take our nation and our country to the next stage.

And that is why we still cry on the 9th of Av in today’s beautiful Jerusalem. We mourn because we are so close and yet so far. Yes, Jerusalem is united, but our nation is divided, physically and spiritually. We are still so often under verbal and physical attack while many Jews continue to marry and others don’t know or don’t care about the beauty of our heritage. We weep because with all our success, there is still so much pain and loss.

Yet, I do not resent the merry atmosphere on the 9th of Av in Jerusalem. There is a confidence in the air that the Jewish story is victorious and that we are approaching a great day. Our much awaited bride is already at the wedding canopy.

Jerusalem is waiting.

Yishai Fleisher

About the Author: Yishai Fleisher is a Contributing Editor at JewishPress.com, Chief Editor at JNi.media, talk-show host, and International Spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, an Israeli Paratrooper, a graduate of Cardozo Law School, and the founder of Kumah ("Arise" in Hebrew), an NGO dedicated to promoting Zionism and strengthening Israel's national character. Yishai is married to Malkah, and they live on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem with their children.


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