of Our Oy
Don't tell me to lighten up. It's Tisha B'av.
by David Holzel
|Most Jews dread the arrival of Tisha
B'av. Oh, they go gaga over Pesach and Chanukah. The
occasional one will have a thing for Tu B'shevat.
But the anniversary of the destruction of the first and second Temples in ancient Jerusalem? And the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492? And the numerous other major and minor catastrophes that have accumulated around the 9th day of Av? "Feh," you say. "I can't stand this holiday." Am I right or am I right?
But I look forward to Tisha
B'av like one anticipates the return of an old friend. On
all those other festivals it's de rigueur to be festive.
If you're not, you run the risk of somehow shortchanging
the Almighty and the Jewish people both, and tying
another stone around the waist of a drowning Jewish
future. Tisha B'av is the only day of the Jewish year
that I can feel rotten and still be faithful to my
There's no Jewish
experience quite like
sitting in the dark with
hot candle wax dripping
on your hand.
On Tisha B'av these tales of
misery are just mood setters. One year the holiday fell a
couple days after I had my wisdom teeth removed. I
arrived at the synagogue accompanied by a small but
persistent pain. One side of my face looked like I was
holding a small grapefruit in my cheek. My jawline was
dull yellow from the kind of bruise that comes when
something integral to your body is crushed then yanked
out. I felt awful.
© Copyright 1998 by David Holzel
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