August 3, 2022
This Saturday evening, we will reach the nadir of the three week period of time known as Bein ha-Metzarim (Between the Straits). As I mentioned last week, this period of time culminates with Tisha B’Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. This low point on the calendar is a day of collective mourning. We mourn the ancient losses of the two temples. We remember the many tragic and calamitous events that have befallen our people. We confront the harsh reality that evil exists and that as Jews we have experienced traumatizing, unspeakable tragedies.
Tisha B’Av is a day of intensity. Common customs include fasting, abstaining from pleasurable activities, reading from the book of Lamentations (Megillat Eicha), and reading kinnot (poetic elegies and dirges).
Sinking into the solemnity and darkness of this day, opening to grief and loss rather than bracing and flinching from it, gives us the possibility of transformation. By the day’s end, we begin to feel the hint of renewal and rebirth. After falling to the bottom rung on life’s grand ladder, we begin to climb out and up. In Hasidic tradition, this is known as Yeridah tzorech aliyah, descent for the sake of ascent.
I invite you to join us at CBI this Saturday night at 8:30 for Tisha B’Av services. We’ll experience the descent together. Then…we’ll begin the 7 week ascent to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.