Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

We are at the beginning of the Nine Days of the month of Av.

Throughout Jewish history the three weeks from the 17th of Tammuz through the 9th of Av, have been known to be a very trying time for the Jewish nation. The Jewish religion is not a history book but a way of life that continues from one generation to the next.

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It’s a way of life that is constantly alive. It’s a life we are constantly learning from.

Our Foundation goes back to the beginning of time when Hashem promised Father Avraham that He will forever guide and protect his children.

The whole world was created just for the Jewish people. So, since the time when we became a people with a Jewish identity, in every generation, we’re constantly connecting to the past, present and future in everything we do. Though I might not have seen Abraham Avinu, Yaakov or Yitzhak, I’m still connected to them as if I lived with them my whole life.

They are part of my soul.

We all come from them and therefore we are so close.

Every week, when we read the Torah portion about events that took place in the past, I’m not just reminded of a story that happened many years ago, rather I’m reminded of my roots and where I came from and what it is that G-d wants for me to learn from my forefathers and mothers.

We need to learn from the stories of the past and with that learn and take it into our daily lifestyle, here in 2022.

These three weeks and the 9th day of Av happened to the Jewish people because they cried in vain in the desert.

Before entering the chosen land Moshe Rabbeinu sent the spies to seek out the land and see good things inside the land. Instead, they returned and saw the bad. And that night all of the nation cried for no reason, and for generations that became the night of crying.

On that night many tragic events happened. On that night many hardships befell the Jewish people. During these three weeks the Jews were chased out of their homes in Gush Katif in the Gaza strip, where I lived for many years.

Jewish history is filled with sad and horrible events that happened during these times. It’s a time when we must reflect on the past, survive the present, and yet look forward to how we can change things in the future to make it different and to make the redemption come.

In these times of turmoil and of hardships we can start building something new and bring the redemption closer. It is known that these months in the future will turn into happy months and all the fasts will turn into festive and happy gatherings and happy events. Am Israel has many stories of how during this time period people conquered their anger and how people united to do good things and to get together to try and hasten that redemption.

This past Shabbat I had a few people over to my house for lunch.

During the meal there was a conversation between two of the ladies sitting next to me. One must have misunderstood the words of the other and got extremely offended.

When I noticed this, I tried to make peace between the two ladies and explain the misunderstanding. My efforts were in vain since the lady who got hurt was refusing to accept any apologies. Seeing this I suggested to the lady who was trying to apologize that perhaps she should walk away for the time being and allow the lady who was hurt to calm down a bit. The lady agreed and started to walk away, as she did, the lady who got hurt took a cup of coffee (not hot), and threw the cup all over the lady who was walking away.

At this point all of my guests jumped in and urged the lady who spilled the coffee to immediately leave my apartment. We ran over to the lady who was dripping with coffee, feeling utterly embarrassed and not knowing what to say.

I tried to offer her clothing or something to help her feel better. The lady looked at us and said nothing. We all saw the pain in her eyes and the embarrassment that she felt.

At that moment one of the other guests quickly said that this is a very special moment when a person is embarrassed and does not speak back. It is said that they can bless anyone they want and the blessings will come true.

The few of us who were standing around this lady urged her to please bless us. She smiled and underneath her tears blessed us all.

There are so many times in life that we unfortunately, either hurt someone or are hurt ourselves. Our job is obviously to remember not to hurt others, but more than anything, if we get hurt, not to answer back.

This trait is considered a great one in the eyes of Hashem.

Let us pray that during these three weeks we will see the redemption and we will see an end to all the pain and suffering of the Jewish people once and for all. Amen.

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Michal can be reached at michal@jewishpress.com