At shul tonight, after the reading of Eicha (The Book of Lamentations), about twenty people sat in a circle on the floor and discussed the meaning of Tisha b’Av. The consensus was that it is almost impossible for Jews today to truly feel the sorrow experienced by those who lived through the destruction of the temples.
Similarly, it is hard for us to genuinely grieve for the destruction of Jewish communities during the Spanish Inquisition as we do for the destruction of Jewish communities during the Shoah.
And surely, a time will eventually come when future generations find it difficult to relate to the tragedy of the Shoah the way we do today.
People offered a number of approaches:
(1) One person said that on Tisha b’Av she feels that God is present in her own sorrows and suffering.
(2) Another said that when there are so many reports of suffering across the globe, there’s no shortage of inspiration for feeling sad. Taken in this way, Tisha b’Av is a good opportunity to read the newspaper emotionally, not intellectually.
(3) A third said that for her Tisha b’Av is about disunity between Jews. The Temple was a common place of worship for all Jews (and some non-Jews), and since its destruction sectarianism has prevailed.
(4) Others remembered the persecution and suffering of Jews over the generations.
We’re interested in hearing how (or indeed if) you relate to Tisha b’Av.