Dear Readers,

This Tuesday is Tisha B’Av, the fast of the ninth day of Av. On this saddest and most tragic day, both Holy Temples were set aflame, and many other calamities befell our people.

During this fast day, which begins Monday at sunset, we read Jeremiah’s book of Lamentations and recite prayers and poems that vividly describe the pogroms, crusades, inquisitions and holocausts that our nation has endured throughout the last 2000 years of exile. Besides fasting, we also mourn by abstaining from certain pleasures: washing, applying lotions or creams, wearing leather shoes, even marital relations. Until midday on Tuesday, we sit on the floor or on low stools, as we would in other times of mourning.

The Holy Temple was G‑d’s home on earth—where G‑d’s presence was tangible, where spirituality and meaning were palpable. Three times a year, on the festivals, our nation would visit the Temple to profoundly feel G‑d’s presence. They would return home invigorated by their experience, their hearts and souls afire with purpose, resolving to bring their relationship with G‑d into all aspects of their daily lives.

Our sages tell us that those who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit to see it rebuilt with the coming of Moshiach. After we grieve, we need to move forward from our pain and sorrow into deed and action, doing whatever we can to create a better tomorrow. Remembering the pain of destruction is part of declaring our certainty, faith and resilience in there being a better future, and motivating us towards help making that a reality.

Wishing you an easy and meaningful fast! May all the mournful dates on our calendar very soon be transformed into days of tremendous joy and happiness.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW