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Leah’s Blog Tisha B’Av 2023

Tisha B’Av  – August  2023

Let’s face it – there’s a vibe to times; these might be the most felt on the calendar, the peak of heat, charged with fraught, ill feeling and doom. I know you’re not used to hearing me talk like this but mutual hostility within our nation is being vamped up like a vape flavored smoke these days and you inhale it everywhere: חרון אף (rage), Kamtzah Bar Kamtzah of the modern age. Last night the wind howled, cats screamed at each other and sleep evaded me. Getting up, I walked barefoot into the dark hall only to see a HUGE black scorpion staring me in the face in the dim light on the floor. I couldn’t help myself, these are my weak points. Bad blood has always existed between me and all crawling things but this was too much. “MOSHE!” After what he termed, “a less dangerous breed”, the Aviad (it’s name), smooshed it; that  was all that had to be done but the eerie feeling it left behind got me thinking about Tisha B’Av, going back eighteen years ago to Gush Katif when Jews were thrown out of their homes, bodies pulled out of graves there, synagogues burnt to the ground and the protesters – over seven thousand arrested including our own daughter who was pulled by her red pony tail into the paddy wagon at the tender age of fourteen and left to rot in a prison cell for an entire week (for holding up a sign). The injustices of the time surrounding Tisha B’Av whether it be the expulsion of Spanish Jews from their homes of a thousand years, the wars between Jews in the second Temple period and crucifixion of millions by the Romans, the evil that led to the burning of Solomon’s Temple, the sin of the spies who brought death to the generation of the midbar and the Umbrella theme of what happened on this day and the ramification of it until this day: The selling of Yosef HaTzaddik. Ah, so now I get it why the scorpion appears- the pit he was thrown into by his own brothers was full of them. What was his crime? What did Eretz Yisrael do to the spies that carried the bountiful grapes as proof the Land was not as promised? What did the Jews of Spain do to Ferdinand and Isabella? Why did Rome destroy our Temple? Is there no justice?

Interestingly if we take the letters of the name יוסף and scramble them, we come up with another significant theme for this day-  PEACE . פיוס- On the timeline of the most traumatic event in our early history, the day brothers plotted evil against a brother on Tisha B’Av, the remedy was already embedded into the name of the victim. In just a few days from now leaves will begin to fall, things will simmer down, a big renewal on the way, TU B’Av a national holiday of reconciliation. There are points in our history that renewal of covenant comes into focus- we are so lucky for them. What generation was truly able to again dance in the grapevines of Shilo if not ours. Even in the hardest most horrific time of holocaust, the return to Zion happened as was promised to us. Like a person drowning at sea, we are being told just hold your head above the water a bit more and help is on the way! Hang in there! The ones who really strive for harmony and justice and have a national perspective of this miracle can even now in the throes of the saddest day of the year feel the might of Israel’s power. “ציון במשפט תפדה ושביה בצדקה” – “Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent by righteousness.”  Soon we will be in the Days of Awe, a time we atone, pray, give tzeddakah, do chesed and cheshbone nefesh. From this time on the joy that was dormant and hidden from us springs up into front center. We sanctify the wonderful things unfolding right around this corner of time.

A new vineyard was planted this week at the Penini Farm here on Itamar. It is a labor of love and a testimony that we are not lone solitary souls but that we are like clusters connected to the life force that blesses this land, connected to the most ancient story that has twists, and turns in it like the time ambience of the calendar. We had no home and now we have returned to it, embedded into it from the start! Mashiach was born on Tisha B’Av!

May it be an easy and beneficial fast- Blessings Always!

צום קל ומועילLeah

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