With a sigh of relief, no longer in the three weeks, and with the fast of the 9th of Av behind us, we can all breath in and out deeply as we realise it’s simply all been worth it! In fact, having made it through 25 hours without food and water may well make us think we’ve done our share in mourning for the
We’ve got a good 52 weeks ahead of us until we’ll have to do this all again, so let’s take a break and as they say – let them good times roll!
It may seem like that for many of us, but is this the real truth? Is that what Tisha BeAv was/is all about?! Yet we must ask ourselves, if indeed we have done everything as we should have – why is it then that Moshiach has still not revealed himself?! Where *is* the
As the Torah says, one who lives in a generation in which the
To any thinking person who has imagined just how large the
One can barely imagine the horrific moment in Jerusalem 2000 years ago as this entire area was consumed with perhaps the hugest fire in history. Imagine the smoke alone! Where did it come from? Was it all man-made?
The Torah shares with us the real story. While we may think the fires that burned were all man-made, the truth is that there was an angel above – Gavriel – the angel of fire, who had been so commanded to “take care” of the
Is it all over now that we can pray at the Kotel – the only surviving (part) wall of the
In fact, not only does the Halacha discuss various external signs of mourning necessary to remember the destruction – by for example leaving an area of one’s home not painted, or by tearing one’s shirt when one approaches the Kotel if one has not seen it for 30 days… all laws brought in the Shulchan Aruch near the end of the first section – Orach Chaim. But more than this, strangely enough, the entire corpus of law as brought in the Shulchan Aruch actually begins with… mourning for the
How odd it is that most Jews who begin to get heavily involved in the intricacies of Jewish law simply skip through the first sections of the Shulchan Aruch – moving to more “interesting laws” – Shabbat, Kashrut, Niddah – things that can be heavily debated – that can truly test one’s intellectual capacity! Sure, we need to actually fulfil these Halachot, but the debates surrounding the many arguments can make for an exciting day in Kollel! Why bother with the laws of waking up in the morning… saying Modeh Ani… or washing one’s hands? Laws that of course – “everyone” knows already?!
Imagine for just a moment the scene: 120 years have gone by, and we are standing in the presence of The Legal Court Above. They ask us if we studied any Torah. We reply with a resounding YES! “Great,” they say, “If so, you surely began at the beginning?” We reply in the affirmative, after all, we really have studied how to wake up and most of us are certainly authorities! Then they ask us another question, “Did you also observe the laws you studied… or did you perhaps just enjoy the give-and-take of the Halachic argument?!” Once again, taking our Torah seriously, we respond that we studied in order to do. And so… the Legal Court Above begins as it opens the authoritative code of Jewish law – the Shulchan Aruch. The book is opened in front of them and they begin to read…
“A person should strengthen himself like a lion to stand in the morning to serve his Creator, that he should awaken the dawn…”
The Halacha continues by telling us to realise that we are in the presence of G-d all day long and that we need to be aware of this at all times. Most of us manage to get to grips with being (semi) conscious of a Creator during the day. And for some, waking up to awaken the dawn can be a regular event (although of course, we could ask ourselves if we really take this seriously!)
Then comes the second law of the entire code of Jewish Law – a four volume work encompassing every law from waking up in the morning, to observing the Sabbath day, to keeping the laws of Kashrut, the laws of forbidden interest, how to slaughter an animal, to deal honestly in business, how to get married… and a variety of other daily life topics – enough to keep us busy for at least one life time:
“One who gets up early in the morning to supplicate before his Creator should intend for those hours when the “guards” change. These are at the third point during the night, and at the end of the second third of the night, and at the third end of the night – that the prayer than one prays at those hours regarding the destruction of the
And law three continues: “It is fitting for every G-d fearing person to be distressed (saddened) regarding the destruction of the
And law four: “A little supplication with intention is better than a lot without intention!”
Imagine now for just a moment, standing in front of The Legal Court Above as they begin reciting the very first laws of the Shulchan Aruch! Here we were so involved with Kashrut, Shabbat, Niddah etc… and yet, we begin to ask ourselves, did we actually care if the
Perhaps the message of Tisha BeAv is one which needs to be brought into the rest of the year. It is a message which cries out from the day itself and echoes through the world, each and every day. In fact it resonates at certain times of the evening even more. The voice of the Shechina (Indwelling Divine Presence) cries out – and calls out to each of us – “Be aware, a generation in which the
Perhaps it is finally time to connect – even once in our lifetimes. Perhaps once a year, once a month, or even once a week. In fact, as the Shulchan Aruch points out, it is at those times of the night that the Shechina cries – that she too listens to our cries – as the prophet Jeremiah points out “Arise, call out at night…”
This time – the sweetest hour, is a time for us to get in touch with G-d. A time when the world is silent, but the Shechina is heard crying. We too are silent… but when we awaken at this time, we too are filled with tears as we connect and feel the pain of the Shechina.
What must we do and how do we connect with the Shechina? When is this time and how can we go about connecting with her – now?! What is the time known as?!
It is the sweetest hour. A time of Divine favour. It is a time when a thread of mercy is spread over all who awaken to cry for the
Join us for our next article which will speak of this beautiful moment – a moment when Jew and Shechina kiss. A time when the soul is finally able to break from her body to reunite with her lover. It is the sweetest hour…