Surviving is not Living

For These I Mourn

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How do I mourn for a place I’ve never been, a structure I never saw, in a time I never lived? Those are the thoughts that have been on my mind the last three weeks. What does it mean to mourn the destruction of the temples? I am only at the beginning of my Torah journey and my understanding, but I’ve had a few thoughts about it.

Without a temple we are scattered. We can find community within our individual temples and synagogues. We can worship together with others. But when I thought of the destruction of the temples, I thought of the destruction of unity among all those with a soul for Torah. Where do we go to be unified? And we see that we are not. Not in thought, not in action, not in heart. I mourn for the inability for all of us to be together, in physical proximity, in the land that is ours.

There are mitzvot we can no longer do because they require the Temple and it is not there. It feels like praying without a minyan. Incomplete. G-d hears the prayers that I pray when alone. And He sees the mitzvahs we are able to do, and honors them. But just like the prayers we can’t pray without a minyan, so it feels when we are not able to do what G-d has commanded we do when there is nowhere to perform those acts.

The mourning of the three weeks is not just about mourning the temples. There are other things that happened against the Jewish people historically during these three weeks, and in the nine days of the month of Av. And there continues to be plenty to mourn for today. Look around you and I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to find something to mourn for. Recently as I listened to a teenager speak, I was reminded of all there is to mourn for. Generations that have come so far from their intended target. The lives we live so hollow and dishonoring to who we were created to be. We have strayed so far from holiness and have lowered our standards to nothingness. We are quick to hurt each other, and slow to love. Indeed, there is much to mourn for today.

The Sages taught, “Any generation in which the Temple is not built, it is as if it had been destroyed in their times” (Yerushalmi, Yoma 1a). And therefore, I mourn the destruction of the temple. I mourn that it hasn’t been rebuilt. And the words in the Amidah ring ever so strongly in my heart.

“May it be your will, Adonai our G-d, and the G-d of our forefathers, that the Holy Temple be rebuilt, speedily in our days. Grant us our share in Your Torah, and may we serve You there with reverence, as in days of old and in former years. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to Adonai, as in days of old and in former years.”


For those reading this blog who are interested in a further explanation of Tisha B’Av, the three weeks, the nine days, and the history and significance of this time, you can find information here



Written by No More Tomorrows

August 5, 2014 at 11:46 am

Posted in Being Mindful, Grief

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