Last Saturday night, 20 of your fellow members came together to observe the memorial observance of Tisha B’Av. On this day, we refrain from eating, we refrain from joyous activity, and we gather for prayer, study, reflection, and the reading of the book of Lamentations as we reflect on what the destruction – by others – of our most holy Temple means to us thousands of years later. We learn from our study of Talmud that the second Temple was destroyed because of sinat chinam, “baseless hatred”, we had for each other. The rabbis, interestingly, do not blame the Babylonians (586 BCE) or the Romans (70 CE), but teach that we brought the destruction upon ourselves.
Remarkably, Judaism was not destroyed. Especially after the second destruction, rabbinic Judaism came into full force in our lives for the next two thousand years. And that has been a very good development. Last Saturday, I used the Talmudic teaching and the dynamic and positive change the rabbis brought as a platform to ask our participants, “What was destroyed by you or others that, upon reflection, has made you a better person?” “What has challenged you or your thinking, motivating you to move in a different, more positive direction in your life?”
The practice of Judaism is at our fingertips and inside our hearts when we allow these teachings to be absorbed in our souls. Bring the importance of this day within, so that you can move from something that has harmed you to bountiful love.