Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tisha B'Av

by Yehuda HaKohen
Magshimey Herut
Av 5769

Throughout most of the year, we are satisfied and grateful as we appreciate the miraculous Redemption taking place before our eyes. The return of Jewish sovereignty after two thousand years of dispersion; the Land of Israel bearing its fruits after being barren for so long; the revival of the Hebrew language as a spoken vernacular in everyday use. It requires a deep vision to recognize the holiness of this process despite all of the problems that currently exist – to see the Kingdom of G-D developing and growing to fruition amidst all of the suffering and confusion in our day.

Once a year, however, we take the time to recognize how much of the goal is still incomplete as we mourn for the destruction of G-D’s Temple and our complete national framework. On the one hand, we see the goal – that amazing revolution in reality and Creation – where the world is coming to what it was always meant to be. We see the Divine ideal from before Creation – beyond the reality that we have grown accustomed to – sprouting forth as Israel rises to national rebirth on our soil. At the same time, however, during these melancholy days, we remember how much of that absolute goal is still missing – how the Temple has still not been rebuilt, how much of our country is under foreign rule and how many of our people still reside in the exile.

This recognition of what is lacking is in itself part of the appreciation we feel throughout the year. The true understanding of Redemption can only be perceived when we are able to view where the process is going, what great goal of history is about to take place and how much we still have to work and pray for its completion. In truth, this understanding of Israel’s incompleteness is what gives us the ability to value what we do have – to appreciate the foundations that have already been built. Three weeks, nine days and then finally one day a year, we remember and feel sorrow for what is still not complete and how much of a national struggle still awaits us in the future. Because of how much the world is suffering today and how great and amazing the complete Redemption will be, we are overcome with grief for what the world is still waiting for – that perfect, ultimate rectification of existence that will bring this world to levels of goodness and harmony beyond what humankind has until now experienced.

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