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Idea on the Portion of the Week

The Book of Deuteronomy (Devarim) represents Moses’ last address to the Jewish nation. As such it is a little jarring that he immediately starts with words of harsh rebuke. However, the most effective way to preserve national cohesion is by fostering collective memory of the not so happy times. The Baal Shem Tov is quoted as saying “Forgetfulness leads to exile while remembering leads to redemption”. Thus Moses is subtly providing us the strategy to guaranteeing our future.

 

Similarly, as unpleasant and uncomfortable the observances of this time of year is, and especially Tisha B’Av, it is our only way to regain our mojo as a nation to pave the way for redemption!

 

Tisha B’Av begins Saturday night at sunset and is observed with the restrictions of eating, drinking, and bathing for pleasure through Sunday night. We are essentially sitting shiva on the day of a burial. It commemorates, among other things, the destruction of the 2 temples which according to our tradition took place on the 9th of Av. It features the reading of Lamentations (Eicha), written by Jeremiah in the direct aftermath of this destruction, during the evening, and the chanting of Kinot the following morning. One wrinkle this year is that we are observing the occasion on a different date because it falls on Shabbat. As such there are some exemptions  that would not  apply in a regular year.

 

Mon, August 19 2019 18 Av 5779