On this holy and solemn day, we remember and mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples (586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E., respectively). It is also a time to experience communal grief for other Jewish tragedies and to reflect on our own personal losses and grief. Although we may not feel in physical exile, we may be in spiritual exile or in exile from communal life.

On Tisha b’Av, we read texts that are mournful, painful, and longing from such as the Book of Lamentations, special kinot (poems of sorrow and mourning) and Psalms.

Psalm 137:1-6 often begins Tisha b’Av liturgy and sets the tone:

By the Rivers of Babylon, there we sat, sat and wept, as we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung up our lyres, for our captors asked us there for songs, our tormentors, for amusement: “Sing us one of the Songs of Zion.” How can we sing a song of Adonai on alien soil? 

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither; let my tongue stick to my palate, if I cease to think of you, if I do not keep Jerusalem in memory even at my happiest hour.

Our Tisha b’Av communal observance is this Saturday night, July 17, 8pm in the Beth Shalom sanctuary. Please join us for a subdued evening of study and discussion. Please bring a flashlight if you have one. 

Kol Tuv ~  Rabbi Teri