Our history is more than simply a part of our past. It's a part of who we are.
Tisha B'Av, which falls on Thursday – August 3rd, is the day on which the Jewish people mourn the destructions of the First and Second Temple. It is a day on which we refrain from eating and drinking, and from other enjoyable activities – including learning Torah. We read Megilat Eicha (read about the origins of the Book of Lamentations) with its harrowing tales of Jerusalem after the destruction of the First Temple. We also read Kinnot (read more about these elegies) – mournful poems about tragedies that befell the Jewish nation throughout the generations.
Jewish memory has always been fundamentally a-historical; it sees events that occurred in vastly different time periods as being profoundly connected. It adds more recent troubles to those ancient tragedies memorialized by our traditional fast days, creating a history that transcends chronology – the story of Jewish destiny.
It is said that the Second Temple was destroyed due to unfounded hatred among Jews. Today, Tisha B'Av unites us as a nation in both grief and hope. While we grieve over the destruction of the Temple which led to the exile that dispersed us all around the world, Jews everywhere look toward Jerusalem and the Kotel – the remnant of the glorious days when the Temple stood. While we mourn the tragedies of the past and the continued dangers that we face as a nation, Jews from around the world gather at the Western Wall where the memories of our past mingle with our hopes and prayers for the future.
Make sure to log onto the Kotel cameras this Tisha B'Av and hear the Book of Lamentations and Kinnot read in front of these ancient stones.
Join Am Yisrael in reciting the words of the prophet Jeremiah:
"Restore us to Yourself, O Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old."