My theology is built on the assumption that genuine and powerful connection with God is possible from anywhere, not just the Temple Mount, so my observance of Tisha b’Av grieves for the condition of exile from God which we allow to permeate our days. Every tragedy I read about in the news, every murder and rape and famine which we could have prevented but did not, distances us from unity with the All. The bombings sixty years ago at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, commemorated so close to Tisha b’Av, distance us from unity with the All. What continues to unfold in Sudan distances us from unity with the All. And that distance is the real exile which this holiday obligates us to notice. . . .
An observance of Tisha b’Av which focuses only on remembering our collective suffering, without taking that remembrance as a call to change, is incomplete. The day of most powerful grief in the Jewish calendar is not just about eschewing leather and sitting on low mourners’ stools. It’s about opening our eyes to the suffering of the broken world, and recommitting ourselves to doing something to change it. God acts in the world through us, and if we don’t work to heal what’s broken, all God can do is weep. Today the entire world has the capacity to be our Temple, a holy place where God’s presence is made manifest with song and rejoicing, and when we allow the world to remain ruptured by hatred, we are complicit in the continuing destruction which Tisha b’Av reminds us to mourn.
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