Eating on Tisha B’av?!

car parts.jpgA friend of mine sent his car to the mechanic to get it fixed. There was something wrong with the engine and he didn’t know what, so he figured the mechanic would know how to find and fix the problem.

A few days later he walks into the mechanic and he sees his car all over the place. Literally. The car is in pieces, with different parts of the car and engine strewn all over the shop. It’s a mess.

What happened over here? My friend asked. Why did you destroy my car?

Your car had a big problem that was right in the heart of the engine. In order to access the broken part to fix it, I had to take it all apart. You see a broken car, with pieces strewn all over the place; but I see a car that is in the middle of being fixed, and when I’m finished it will run better than it did before.

This reminds me of the theme of Tisha B’Av (- we will mark it this week on Saturday night and Sunday), which commemorates the destruction of the first and second Beis Hamikdash - holy temples in Jerusalem (in 422BCE and 70CE respectively).

When these Temples were destroyed it meant a great tragedy for the Jewish people. Each time it marked the end of the sovereign rule of the Jewish people on their land; the end of an era as far as the full and complete way of serving Hashem in the Temple; and the beginning of harsh exile, to wander from country to foreign country all these years.

When the people looked around they saw destruction, pain and a big mess. And indeed it was so.

But now with hindsight of many centuries later we can appreciate a deeper dimension, shared with us by the Chasidic masters and Kabbalists.

The destruction of the Temple, on the surface was one of DEstruction, but on a deeper level it was the prerequisite for CONstruction. Just as the mechanic has to take apart the car in order to fix it and make it better, so too G‑d took apart the Second Temple in order to make room for the third one which will be bigger and better. (I'm not sure what is taking so long this time around… - between the first and second Temple there was only seventy years… maybe we are waiting for the architects renderings or something :)).

This helps to give us some perspective about the focus of the day of Tisha B’av. It is a sad day when we mourn all the destruction and suffering of the Jewish people, both in the times of the temples and throughout history. At the same time we can appreciate that it is also the time when the difficult, painful and sometimes dirty work of creating a new and better reality is taking place… we just don’t see that better reality yet. And because we don’t see the better reality, today we mourn.

(An interesting and deeper point, to note this year. We actually don’t fast on the 9th of Av this year!!!

Tisha B’Av- the 9th of Av is when we usually fast. However this year the 9th of falls out on Shabbos. So we don’t start the fast until Saturday night, and then go into Sunday - the 10th of Av. So it turns out that this year on Tisha B’Av we eat and drink and partake of a big feast!

This is a foretaste of the future times when Moshiach comes and we have the full messianic age. When all is good again, we will celebrate the 9th of Av as a joyous festival, because then we will see tangibly how all the destruction and suffering was part of the bigger picture leading to the messianic age.

So today as we joyously eat and drink on Tisha B'Av (due to a technicality) we are getting a taste of the future when we will celebrate on Tisha B’Av because all is good again)

We will be marking Tisha Be’av this year on Saturday night in Redwood City and Sunday in Palo Alto. (See the post in the newsletter with the schedule). I hope you can join us in this most meaningful albeit introspective of occasions.

Shabbat Shalom