July 30, 2009

Lament, O Israel

The Kotel, Western Wall in Jerusalem
I took this photo on my first pilgrimage to Israel

Today is Tisha b'Av, the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, the saddest day in Jewish history. It is on this date that both the first and second Temples were destroyed, as well as other horrific moments in history.

Another photo I took of The Kotel from the walkway
you see on the right side of the first photo

Five misfortunes befell our fathers ... on the ninth of Av. ...On the ninth of Av it was decreed that our fathers should not enter the [Promised] Land, the Temple was destroyed the first and second time, Bethar was captured and the city [Jerusalem] was ploughed up. -Mishnah Ta'anit 4:6

...Should I weep in the fifth month [Av], separating myself, as I have done these so many years? -Zechariah 7:3

In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month ...came Nebuzaradan ... and he burnt the house of the L-RD... -II Kings 25:8-9

In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month... came Nebuzaradan ... and he burnt the house of the L-RD... - Jeremiah 52:12-13

How then are these dates to be reconciled? On the seventh the heathens entered the Temple and ate therein and desecrated it throughout the seventh and eighth and towards dusk of the ninth they set fire to it and it continued to burn the whole of that day. ... How will the Rabbis then [explain the choice of the 9th as the date]? The beginning of any misfortune [when the fire was set] is of greater moment. -Talmud Ta'anit 29a

You, O LORD, do rule forever;
Your throne is from generation to generation.
Why do You forget us forever;
Why do You forsake us so long?
Restore us to You, O LORD, that we may be restored;
Renew our days as of old,
Unless You have utterly rejected us,
And are exceedingly angry with us.

~Lamentations 19 - 22

2 comments:

Ari C'rona said...

I just love to see your pics of the Land - may we be there together some day standing at the Kotel. :o)

YourBrother said...

Hendel,
I think you have had the rare privilege that few of us will have during this life. People don't grasp the importance of this place on the planet... not even those who live there. But man's history has shown it to be a focal point of human affairs for all generations.
My feeling is that societies have always wanted to possess it rather than share it. Modern times are no different than the ancient past in this regard. If we all could only appreciate that in order to truly possess a thing you must be willing to completely give it away. This is the lesson of Israel (both as a nation and as a concept)!