The solemnity of this day ( Tisha B’Av ) is more intense and conveys a deeper sense of significance than any I have experienced in my adult life. As I sat on the floor of the synagogue last nite and this morning chanting the Lamentations and listening to the reading of EICHA , my thoughts were not confined to the twin destructions of the Temples in Jerusalem, but of a panoramic view of the State of World Jewry.
Of course the most immediate scene in my overview are thousands of Jewish soldiers prepared to forcibly remove their fellow countrymen from settlements and homes they have lived in ,with the encouragement of the government for close to four decades. Never before in history (to my knowledge), has a victor in a defensive war returned land (and a potential seaport and airport to the aggressor [and LOSER] ) in the absence of a formal treaty or understanding regarding peace and cordial relations.
Not only that, but both government and private think tanks are unanimous that the result will yield only chaos and anarchy with no sign of PA stability. The only solution says even these critics is more and more and more Israeli concessions and even then they admit violence and terrorism will be the response of Hamas et al.
But on this day my thoughts and pain goes much deeper. I go back to the end of the six Day War and the capture and re-unification of Jerusalem. What would have happened if the Temple Mount was razed, in preparation for the building of the next Temple? What would have been had access been limited to the Temple Mount?
Yes the Arab and Muslim world would have gone wild. But could they do anything beyond that which they have done since 1948 in their attempts to destroy the State of Israel and to vilify Jews and Zionism (= Racism) would their hate be any greater than it is today toward Jews and Israel? Would they raise the price of oil or withhold supplies? They did that already. Would they pass a few more anti-Israel UN resolutions?
Yes I know this was actually discussed and the Rabbis felt the resultant successful world pressure for Israel to rebuild the mosques would be a great travesty—so they handed over the keys to the Jew-haters
But, Just suppose that the Rabbis were wrong in their political judgement.It would not be the first time as we saw during the holocaust. Revered Rabbis, teachers and role models came to the wrong decisions regarding an exodus from Europe when it was still possible
Americans including Jews are giving their lives so a “free Iraq” can write into their proposed constitution that anyone can be a citizen except a JEW.
Did the World cry out when Arafat despite his promise to President Clinton destroyed the Holy Burial place of Yosef (Joseph ) ?
Does the world utter one comment when Mr Abbas ,his team and his predecessors proclaim that never was a Jewish presence on the Har Habayith ( Temple Mount)?Does the Christian world even wonder where did Jesus function if there was no Bet Hamikdash and from where were the great Judaic religious articles now stored in the Vatican basement taken from if there was no Jewish Temple?
Let no one think I am a religious zealot. But rather I am a torah observant individual who three time a day at the conclusion of the main prayer (shmoneh Esreh) prays (as does every observant Jew) for the speedy rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem in our time.-even as I support the State of Israel and its democratic institutions (even if faulted),
But my thoughts today center not so much on those who seek to destroy us but on my fellow Jews. How has it come to pass that today the majority of my co-religionists look at this sweltering day as a beach or tennis opportunity and never heard of Tisha B’av.?
Why do the majority of my fellow Jews have so little understanding of Jewish history and spirituality, that they are devoid of attachment to the significance of the loss of our temple? I could pose dozens of such poignant questions that speak to total assimilation and ignorance of our heritage and our traditions.
Tisha B’Av speaks to our rejection of Jewish heritage and teachings. But our modern situation speaks to a torah community that has almost a total disconnect with non-observant communities and individuals. This is not restricted to the United States but surely in Israel as well.
Where are the foundations, federation programs, formal educational institutions, national synagogue groups, Rabbinic organizations and Chief Rabbis who are prepared to develop internet ,audio-visual programs and so on ,on a grand scale that can begin to address this problem? Even individuals and synagogues must pause to consider how they can face this problem. ,with small and individualized programs.
In a future blog I will describe a program that theoretically can change the face of synagogues in Israel.
I have no easy answers, only sadness in my heart. Sadly I know that those who are being evacuated under duress will return after the next war. Remember the children of the GUSH who returned decades after their parents were slaughtered by Arab terrorists. Hamas and their colleagues will never rest as long as there is a Jewish State. While I hope and pray for peace we must be vigilant that Israel will not repeat its grievous errors after they win the next war.