Tisha be-Av: the destruction of the Temple.



by Sr. Anne-Catherine Avril, nds

On this Sunday, July 26, the Jewish people remember the destruction of the first and second Temples. This is the “tisha B’Av, the 9th of the month Av, the fifth month of the Jewish year. Great fasting day with intense prayer. We read the scroll of Eicha (first word of what we call the lamentations of Jeremiah: “How”).

This was a disaster for Israel, it is attributed to the sin of the people especially of its leaders and especially the sin of “gratuitous hatred.” A good thought for all time: the Temple was the sign of God’s presence among his people; sin puts the presence of God away. We must “fix” the world damaged by sin and bring back this Presence in its fullness.

You who love Jerusalem, rejoice in her joy, exult in her you who wore mourning (Isaiah 66.10). Hence the sages of Israel say, “He who does not mourn for Jerusalem will not share in her joy.” We must mourn the Temple, one must know to look realistically sin and its consequences. So within this deep compassion springs forth the joy of salvation.

Several signs mark the mourning in everyday life: When building a house, or painting a wall, a small portion is left unfinished, the same when you sew a garment. Above all, the day of their greatest joy, that of marriage, the couple break a glass. This to mean that as long as the world will not be repaired, no joy can be complete, there is still a note of nostalgia, a tension toward the perfect joy.

Translation: Joel Moreira, nds.



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