Losing what you never knew
It's always difficult for me to fully connect to Tisha b'Av. The reality of ancient Israel, of the Beit haMikdash, of a deep physical connection to HaShem, is so distant that I can't picture it. But the longing for it is also blunted by the sheer miraculous reality of the modern state of Israel.
It helps to read testimony from the Ethiopian community, how they describe waiting for thousands of years to return, to worship in the Beit haMikdash, only to find out - in my own lifetime - that it had been destroyed thousands of years ago.
This year when we feel so much fear and sadness over a global pandemic, when we see antisemitism rising, when we see the sinat chinam our society is drenched in, can we use those experiences to tap into a reflection of the feelings that our families felt then?
Thanks to Joe Rothstein for the visual of one of our losses, documented in history by those who beat us, killed us, enslaved us, sold us, exiled us, and stole our Holy treasures. Now to make that ancient image feel immediate.
I will soon be sitting on the floor, with the taste of ash on my tongue, and hoping to find the place my heart should be. 25 hours of mourning for the full history of our people doesn't feel like enough.