During the first nine days of the Hebrew month of Av, the Jewish people experience sorrow and mourning. The destruction of the Holy Temples on the ninth day of Av is both a historical fact and an eternal remembrance of national, personal and spiritual loss that we re-experience every year.
But this year—amid the daily funerals of our beloved soldiers in Israel, amid the terrors of our brethren in eastern Ukraine and throughout Israel, amid growing antisemitism and the shattering of the once-assumed security of our children everywhere—all this can lead one to the very edge of despair.
Yet here is the solution, wrapped in paradox: Our sages insist that our mourning be accompanied by joyous gratitude to G‑d and the certain anticipation of an immediate future when all that we have lost will be returned to us in greater measure than before.
The Nine Days is a time of action. We will learn more Torah—particularly, advises the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, teachings on the rebuilding of the Temple and the final redemption. And we will do more mitzvahs, which bring merit to those who are suffering most deeply, especially giving charity generously, praying for their welfare from the depths of our hearts and performing acts of kindness in their merit.
Yaakov Ort in Jerusalem,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team