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Tisha B'Av and Mourning

July 18 · Issue #2 · View online
The Musings of a Rabbi
On this past Shabbat, we entered into the last book of the Torah. We begin the book of Devarim, also known as the Deuteronomy. In Hebrew, Devarim means words, and this book consists almost entirely of the final words of Moses; it is his farewell address to the Israelites. Oddly, this is the man who once tried to turn down the job because he was not “a man of words.”
Last night also began the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'av, the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av, which is regarded as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. Tish B'av is a day that Jewish history says is destined for tragedy. It’s a day of mourning, we read from the book of lamentations, and we lament, and we ask why? And How? 
Personally, I have spent this entire year in mourning. We have lost so many to this horrible virus, mass shootings, the loss of Black lives, and other tragedies that, sadly, I find hard to remember today. I take a note from the book of psalms and ask ad matai - how long will this go on…? How long will you feed your people tears as their daily bread, making them drink great measures of tears?“ (Psalm 80:4-5)
I’ve also spent this year mourning the loss of my mother. A woman that I actually knew very little about her childhood and very little about her daily life. My mother’s need for privacy kept many at a distance, including her children. I do know all the good parts of me have come from the lessons I’ve learned from her. And I dedicate this video and song to her and what she taught me. She died on this holiday last year. Sometimes I like to think it was her way of making sure I would always remember the Jewish date of her death.

You Can Be Anything Dedicated to Flora Mae Lawson z'l
The end of the book of Lamentations asks God, “why have you forsaken us and then pleads for us to be restored, for God to take us back and renew our days of old. Please take this time, this holiday of Tisha B'av, to sit with where we are as a people, where we are as a nation, love your family, your friends, and neighbor, and we too can be restored to the days of old.
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