We are in the period in Jewish life termed “the three weeks”. These three weeks began about two weeks ago with the 17th of Tammuz (a “minor” fast day) and culminates with Tisha B’av (a major fast day). This period marks the destruction of the Second Temple and the dispersion of the Jewish people from the land of Israel. Tisha B’av begins next Wednesday evening and runs through Thursday.
This is the saddest period in the Jewish calendar. Jewish traditional practice during this three-week period, and to an even more pronounced way during the final nine days, forces us to think about this awful event in Jewish history that reshaped Judaism and the Jewish people. Weddings are not held, people do not eat meat (seen as a luxury) and we do not listen to live music, among other limitations on normal life. In essence, these restrictions were designed by our sages to force us to remember the difficulties faced and overcome by our people and they lead us to look outside ourselves, to assess the larger situation we find ourselves in and to connect with our larger community.
Right now, we are all experiencing previously unpredicted limitations in what we can do, how we interact and how we experience our daily lives. Again, these have focused us all to concentrate outside ourselves, to look towards community. I hope that while we are all quarantining in some way, part of that refocusing is on our connecting Jewishly. You can go to the Federation’s website and scroll down the page to where it says “Connect with your Community” to see a multitude of virtual programs. One of the program offerings taking place on Tisha B’av is with Rabbi Danny Schiff teaching about Tisha B’av. You can read more about A Seminar for Tisha B’Av and register online.
Shabbat Shalom. Wishing all those fasting next week an easy but meaningful fast. Wear your mask!