Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Erev Tisha B'Av 5766

I don't remember another Tisha B'Av in which so very many different memories, both national and personal, are colliding.

The day, in 586 BCE and 70 CE, that the Bet HaMiqdash was twice destroyed.

The day, in 1970 CE, when my father ז"ל, had (what turned out to be) his fatal heart attack. When he died, aged 49, our world collapsed.

The day, in 1200 BCE, when the Children of Israel bewailed the fact that they would have to fight to earn the land that God had promised, and ignored God's promise that He would give them victory.

The day when, over three millennia later, their descendants are fighting and dying to hold on to that same land. However, we have no prophet to assure us that God will give us victory. We are bidden to rely on pure faith. It's a greater level of piety and, by far, a greater challenge.

The day, in 1290 CE, on which King Edward I ('Longshanks') ordered the expulsion of the Jews of England. Thus, started the process whereby within two centuries, Western Europe was made judenrein.

The day, in 2005, on which the Israeli government ordered the expulsion of the Jews of Gush Qatif and the Northern Shomron. The sight of that expulsion was the motivating factor behind the present war.

The day, in 586 BCE, on which God exacted punishment for abandoning Him in favor of idols.

The day on which far too many Jews still worship idols, except these are human beings

The day on which, in 1492, the last Jews in Castille and Aragon, Valencia and Catalonia made their way into exile, after a millenium in Iberia.

The day, in 2006 CE, that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that the present war will help him advance yet another expulsion of 80,000 Jews from their homes and hand World Jihad another victory, essentially declaring Eretz Yisrael to be part of the Dar al Islam.

The Words of the Rambam have never seemed so apt (Hil. Ta’anit 5, 1):

יש שם ימים שכל ישראל מתענים בהם מפני הצרות שאירעו בהן כדי לעורר הלבבות ולפתוח דרכי התשובה ויהיה זה זיכרון למעשינו הרעים ומעשה אבותינו שהיה כמעשינו עתה עד שגרם להם ולנו אותן הצרות, שבזיכרון דברים אלו נשוב להיטיב שנאמר (ויקרא כ"ו,מ) והתוודו את עוונם ואת עוון אבותם במַעֲלָם אֲשֶׁר מָעֲלוּ בִי וְאַף אֲשֶׁר הָלְכוּ עִמִּי בְּקֶרִי:
אבינו מלכנו, הצילנו מאויבנו ושלח לנו ישועה ברחמיך הרבים!

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