The Nine Days of the month of Av are here once again. In years gone by I would say that the sadness of these days was felt more on a technical level; what one can and can’t do regarding the customs and the laws surrounding the Nine Days.
Today with Covid-19 refusing to leave, I feel these days have taken on a new light.
Why do we mourn during these days? Why do we take upon ourselves various customs and laws?
We are remembering the holy temple that was destroyed and all the hardships that the Jewish people have gone through since that endless cry we cried, the night the meraglim returned from touring out the land of Israel. And as they returned, the report that came back with them, was only complaints and hardships the land and its inhabitants had to offer.
With this terrible virus in the world things sure seem to take on a new light. People are not just concerned how to get through the restrictions of these days, like not going swimming or eating meat, washing ones clothes or buying something new. Today we suddenly feel G-d’s presence more than ever. We feel something changing in the whole world, not just in our neighborhood or in our city or state.
At all times Hashem is looking over and watching all of us. G-d is connected to us and is always sending us messages that He is in charge. When this virus first hit the world the reaction was overwhelming. Most people felt it was something heaven sent and out of our control. However, as people tend to do, when things get out of control, is to take control back as soon as possible. Restrictions were set into place and law and order revolving around this virus were set into motion. And still this virus seems to be stronger than us all.
The world wasn’t created in one day and to create the change of the redemption certainly is not taking a day or two to come about either. We prayed and hoped daily for thousands of years that the day would finally come and we would be redeemed and finally be able to worship Hashem once more in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. However, how do we expect it to come about if we are all just continuing on, each of us with our personal and public affairs, without concerning ourselves too much with how or when this massive change will come about?
We are so caught up in our daily lives of where and what to do, not giving the redemption too much thought, only maybe in a synagogue here and there on a holiday or on a special day commemorating the loss of the holy temple in Jerusalem. We usually go right back to our hotels, vacations, or whatever exciting activity we were in the middle of, and that was it. Maybe a good shiur or a heartfelt speech from a prominent rabbi, or an intellectual public speaker. But all in all it was just a speech or at best some powerful words that echoed in our ears for maybe a few days.
Today we feel lost. We finally feel that something is missing. True some might feel that it’s the luxurious vacation that we miss or the freedom to walk around without a mask not worrying if we are the next victims of Covid-19?
People have slowed down just because G-d has slowed us down, so that we may contemplate what we are really missing and what it is that we are truly waiting to happen?
These are the days that we were commanded to mourn, to remember the exile that our people have gone through and are still going through in absence of the 3rd Holy Temple. This year I’m sure every Jew can feel that exile and yearn for redemption more than ever.
Let us pray that all the changes that Hashem is bringing down on this world, privately and publicly, to us the Jews, and to the population at large will very soon show and prove that all these past events are directing us right to the full redemption here and now. Amen.