As we are well into the 9 days of mourning before Tisha B’Av, I find myself struggling — struggling to breathe in this humid weather, struggling to believe that Obama actually thought he was making a “good deal” with Iran instead of a death sentence, struggling to realize that Moshiach must be so close because otherwise there is no way that this world could be so twisted and messed up. It’s hard. It’s hard to live in a world of air conditioning — even if it’s not central (G-d help us!), ready accessible food, water, transportation, and Nordstrom anniversary sales and realize that although this period of 9 days is labeled as a time for mourning, if we take a good, in depth look around us, we will see that the terrible things that are happening every day should cause us to re-think, re-design, and re-adjust our lives every day, not just for 9 days.
Now, don’t ask me why terrible things like beheadings of children by ISIS and random shootings of innocent people are happening. I’m not The Big Guy. But I can say that it seems as though in a world with so much sinat chinam (baseless hatred), we could all benefit from a little “love thy neighbor” these days. Among many other tragedies of the Jewish people, the second Beit HaMikdash (Temple) was destroyed on Tisha B’Av. Our sages tell us that it was destroyed as a punishment for the baseless hatred that the Jews had for one another. Doesn’t it seem like “baseless hatred for thy neighbor” is a problem that many of us face today? How often do we say, “I hate her” or “she’s so ugly”? Believe me, unfortunately, I am guilty of it as well. But in a world where we are hoping for redemption and the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash speedily in our days, we should all try and work on the exact midda (character trait) that brought down the second Temple and the current galut (exile) in the first place.
I’m not here to preach to the choir. It’s more like, write to practice. I hope that by writing down the things we all need to be working on, I will internalize and better myself as well. So as we approach Tisha B’Av this coming Saturday night and Sunday, we should all take this time to give to one another. Give a little love, kindness, tzedakah. Jerusalem wasn’t built in a day, but we can help start to rebuild the Beis HaMikdash by overpowering the evil in this world with our good deeds and kindness.
Yes, I know. This all sounds very idealistic and unlikely to happen. But I think otherwise. It starts with you. With the kind acts of one person to get the ball rolling. There are so many evil, hating people in this world. Don’t become one of the statistic. G-d willing, this post will encourage you to do even one act of kindness, and we will be one step closer to celebrating the coming of Moshiach this Tisha B’Av instead of mourning.