Erev Tisha B’Av 2015. I am making delicious cupcakes with chocolate icing and pink sprinkles for our granddaughter’s 2nd Birthday party tonight after our Shabbat feast. As I pile the Hello Kitty plates and little tea service into a corner and take out balloons I can see through our closed window (the air conditioner is on) a lot of smoke and when there’s smoke, there’s fire. How is it that our enemies know like a clock the most apropos time to remind us to remember! “Remember your Temple twice burnt! Remember you were banished from here! The world doesn’t want you (t)here now either!” These two thousand years were not just an exile from our homeland but from our soul. On Tisha B’Av also Yosef HaTzaddik was sold and lived as a slave. We have lived so many years in exile, we are slaves.
Well, most of us- not all of us. Recently a friend of mine asked me how can it be that she can reach the highest cloud nine, seventh heaven and then fall rock bottom, flat on her face. Why can’t she just have a steady normal existence? I told her about a Torah I heard once that life is like an electrocardiogram monitor- when the line moves up and down it’s a sign of life, when you see a straight flat line – you are in Davy Jones locker, finished! Hold on, the roller coaster ride intensifies as now current events will have a surprise at every turn. We are up and down at the same time now and we need to hold on tight.
It is interesting how our darkest days are really the brightest, most glaring days of summer. Here in Israel, there is never even a cloud in the sky! It is a time we lament, grieve, sweat, and grumble. People are tired. Also, on this day every year I light a yartzeit candle for my grandmother Alvina who passed away on Erev Tisha B’Av. Years ago in that Summer of 1985 when I told her we were moving to Israel she looked at me with that orange flare she had in her eye and said “You will have your way! And you know your own mind!” How happy she must be to know that a little great great granddaughter was born on this date in Israel, in the Land of the living! Would she have dreamt as she was banished from her home in Cologne Germany that a new rising generation had resettled in those old places we pray for every Tisha B’Av!
Do Jewish people really pray to rebuild the Temple?
These are crazy times. In Talmudic times a sage said “I have seen an upside down world, those above are below and those below are above!” (Baba Batra 10B Pesachim 50A). In Sanhedrin 97A it says “In the time before Mashiach truth will be hidden”.
When we break our fast we are already not baying at the moon but making a blessing over it. Mashiach was born right on Tisha B’Av! As we pray for Hashem to rectify this upside down world, to remedy the lies, the intent to keep His people as slaves, we pray to shine out His light to the world through Israel as a nation in her Land. We come closer to it every year, every moment, now.
As I look into the rim of the horizon I can see beyond the smoke, the houses decorating the mountains of the heart of Israel. In just a few days we will move over to a new time of preparation for singing Halleluya and Hoshana!
Shabbat Shalom! Leah Goldsmith