Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Only in Israel, 9th of Av

As much as people like to kvetch that the State of Israel doesn't function as a truly "Jewish State," there still isn't any country in the world more Jewish than Israel. Today is the 9th of Av, called Tisha b'Av in Hebrew. And if you think it's hard to find a good choice of restaurants open during Passover or Shabbat, then you're in for a bad surprise if you want to eat out today. Besides in non-Jewish neighborhoods, there won't be much to choose from. Many stores are closed or open shorter hours, too.

It's not as quiet as Yom Kippur, but the 9th of Av National Day of Mourning and fasting has cast a pall and keeps people at home.

And some of you may have noticed that all of a sudden Israeli men in all walks of life, including media, politicians etc. suddenly look sort of scruffy. They haven't been shaving. You're not supposed to cut your hair (including shaving) during the three weeks (some only observe this the week) before the 9th of Av.

Yesterday, after the weather forecast on the radio, they announced when the fast was to begin in various locations. Do you get that in Monsey, Boca or Stamford Hill?

Oops! Or is this "all Greek" to you? Did I lose you when mentioning 9th of Av?

The 9th day of the Jewish Month of Av is the saddest day on the Jewish Calendar. It's the anniversary of the destruction of both Holy Temples and the total occupation of Jerusalem by foreign invaders. Yes, both Temples were destroyed in the same deadly season hundreds of years apart. The Jewish People have commemorated this for thousands of years.

Here we are in the Land of Israel with a Jewish State. Things may not be perfect yet, but we're only human. It's not so simple to evolve from exile to Redemption, but I have no doubt that we're on our way, Gd willing. Yes, I just wrote "Gd willing," but it's up to us. Each time we take the right step, Gd will step in with "matching funds" and help us to help ourselves.

Tzom Kal
Easy Fast to Those Fasting


sheldan said...

Yes, Batya, we get it...馃榾

But that's what makes Israel special...when I see blog posts with the buses with the "Chag Sameach" signs (as opposed to "Redskins will win today" signs when I lived in Washington), I know that Israel is a special place--and I don't have to be "Greek" to know why those signs are there and not in chutz la'aretz (Diaspora).

That doesn't mean that your readers don't care. (In fact, I think your readers know very well about the time Tisha B'Av begins more than the average person does.). It means that the founding of the State of Israel was just the beginning and not the Redemption itself. As long as we know inside that we are not "home" yet, I will go easy on those who still reside in the Diaspora, since they may have personal reasons for not making aliyah at this time. I hope that we are still praying for the time when this distinction will no longer be necessary.

sheldan said...

And, indeed, "We can change the world!"

Batya Medad said...

I believe that we are changing the world.