Dear Readers,

We recently visited my parents in Toronto. It was so special to catch up on the many small and big conversations that are hard to have from a distance.

I am blessed to have amazingly devoted parents. But ever since we moved to New Jersey a few years ago, I miss no longer living around the corner from them. And as the years pass, every opportunity to be together becomes all the more precious.

Often in life, out of necessity, we are busy moving forward. We become distracted with the next stage, phase or project of our lives. We’re dealing with today, with the here and now, and preparing for tomorrow. Little time or energy is left for looking back.

And yet, traveling back to my home town, memories came flooding back. There was the same street that my father drove me on route to my elementary school, which years later, I drove to my children’s schools. There were the familiar scents of my mother’s best home-cooked meals. The love and warmth from my past engulfed me.

When it was time to leave, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to say goodbye until our next visit. “I will really miss you,” my mother said as she hugged me. I found myself too choked up to respond. But holding her in my embrace for those extra few seconds, I knew she intuitively understood exactly what I felt, as only a mother does.

Parting is painful. As we age, it becomes even more painful since we have the acute awareness of how very precious each day actually is. When we are confronted with that parting hug, we are reminded of its tormenting reality. Love is about unity and togetherness. Separation creates an aching tension, a deep hurt that screams its dissent.

And so, I sit now reflecting, just days before Tisha B’Av, a day of fasting and prayer. This day that marks our deepest, most agonizing separation from G‑d, with the destruction of His home and the displacement of His children into the ravages of exile. The Kabbalists describe the shechinah’s cries as a mother who mourns being separated from her child.

And so, this Tisha B’Av, I would like to think of the mourning of this day as an opportunity to feel the hardship of separation. As I experience the pangs of hunger—as my stomach groans its protest—I will think of G‑d giving me His hug, saying to me: Remember, I really miss you. You are too far away. It is time that we spend more time together, in intimate reunion.

Wishing you an easy and meaningful fast, and wishing that this Tisha B’Av be transformed into a day of celebration!

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW