I used to hate Tisha Bâ€™Av. I hated its sadness and discomfort. I must be getting older because now I long for it to begin. A friend of mine died a few days ago. His death silently hangs in the air awaiting my attention.
Sadness is a part of the natural rhythm of life, but I rarely let it in. In the past it has always been an unwelcome guest in the domicile of my being because I associated it with depression. But now I see that sadness has been inappropriately found guilty by association, and I welcome it as a temporary lodger.
Tisha Bâ€™Av is about sadness and discomfort and death and the collapse of facades. These are important components of life without which there is only superficiality and emptiness.
We live in a most unusual time, a time when we believe we can choose not to endure pain or suffering. Many of us have come to believe that if there is pain then someone made a mistake; they didnâ€™t take care of themselves, they should have rushed to the doctor, they hung around with the wrong people, etc. That is not necessarily true; death and separation and change are all a part of the rhythm of a well lived life. Basking in suffering, embracing sadness, and wallowing in self pity are unhealthy and should be discouraged. But allowing space for the pain of loss is something we must all learn to do if we are to fully actualize our time on this plane of existence.
And sometimes we really do need to learn lessons from our pain. Sometimes we do suffer because of mistakes we have made and need to adjust our behavior to fix whatever is broken. Tisha Bâ€™Av is specifically focused on that kind of pain. We as a people suffered terribly on this day and many others. When we recall those events we do so because we believe they could not have happened had we fully loved each other and G-d. Until we fix that we remain in danger of adding to the list of events we mourn each year.
The citizens of the historical world would probably laugh and laugh if they read this; imagine someone living at a time when they can even dream of not having to suffer.
Have a meaningful Tisha Bâ€™Av.