Monday, July 15, 2013

A Day of Mourning

It's Tisha B'Av. The day we collectively mourn the destruction of the Temple. But I don't understand collective mourning. Because telling me to sit on the floor and not eat, makes me focus on back pain and hunger, not my sadness. 

I don't feel sadness when Eicha (the book of Lamentations) is read. I don't understand the words. The melody does not reach me as other melodies do. 

I don't know how to meditate deeply on what it means to be without the Temple when I am caring for my three young children.  

I am not trying to question the Rabbi's. I am not trying to challenge the status quo. I am trying to figure out where my place is. Why am I so resentful every year when Tisha B'Av comes? 

It's not the fasting. I fast on Yom Kippur and feel no resentment.  It's not the other restrictions. It's that it feels so wrong to be instructed on how and when and what to feel.  

Today you shall be sad.

But I am sad so many days. When I feel discord and hatred between Jews, I mourn. When I see humans acting without humanity, I mourn. When I face the world I am passing along to my children, I mourn.

So how am I to make myself feel those things on one day? My feelings come organically. They are not manufactured. 

Again, I am not asking for a rewrite of Jewish law. I am saying that I don't feel in harmony with it.  

So for tonight's blog I leave you and myself in discomfort. I have no conclusions. Only the feeling of not standing on solid ground. And perhaps today, the day when the Temple crumbled, that is exactly where I need to be.

1. The gray unknown, where questions don't need answers
2. The courage to be there
3. Picking wild blueberries an mulberries with the kids
4. The sun will rise tomorrow


  1. I think that a lot of our traditions, mitzvos and customs have to do with time and instruction. Simchas Torah-be happy and rejoice, Yom Kippur, atone and be serious. Tisha B'- mourn and be sad. Thank you for posting because you actually got me to sit down and really lament, if you will, on the atrocities of this day. So you got me in the tisha bav mode and I salute you for that!

    1. Thanks Shayna. It's funny because as I read your response I realized the other holiday that is really hard for me is Purim, when we are commanded to be happy. I think the other holidays emenate their own emotions and there is a wide enough range for me to find my place. Yom Kippur can be a day of joy, regret, awe...

    2. It's also interesting that we are in a time instructed age. It's been that way for 2000 years. Before that we were a space religion, focused on the Mishkan, the Beis Hamikdash, Eretz Yisrael. I wonder what the next 2000 years will bring...
      Just some thoughts.

  2. So I started writing a really long response and just deleted the whole thing. A) it seemed a little basic and B) I realized your question of how to make yourself feel a certain way in a certain day was most likely rhetorical. But instead of just deleting the comment and you never knowing I was here, I thought I would just let you know that your voice is heard.

    SKZ in FL

    1. Thanks SKZ. Yes, in general I am just sorting out the chaos of my mind via blog, not asking for practical advice. And hopefully nobody misunderstands me thinks I am trying to give it! But I appreciate you taking the time to let me know you are with me on my journey.
      Have an easy and meaningful fast!

  3. Good point. I'm imagining a scenario during the most hectic part of the day with kids going nuts and someone comes along and says you must be happy right now! I would be more than pissed lol