"Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is."

I believe in God.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thoughts on Tisha B'Av

My Tisha B'Av this year got off to a rather irreverent start. All I could focus on was my hunger and thirst; I felt no grief for the Temple, or any other tragedy, at all.

Then I was praying this morning without tallit and tefillin (on Tisha B'Av, they are donned in the afternoon, rather than the morning, to symbolize our state of mourning) and all of a sudden it hit me: we are missing something.

Like it or not, almost all of Jewish ritual is based around the Temple. The holidays match Israel's agricultural cycle, which mattered in Temple times because people brought offerings at specific times of the year. In our prayers, we ask for the Messiah and a return to Temple times. We even have an extra set of prayers on special occasions, designed to substitute for the extra sacrifice that would have been offered in the Temple on that day.

I do not like the idea of a return to animal sacrifices and stratification by social class, gender, or anything else. I do not believe that the third Temple will take up these practices. Rather, I choose to believe in a Temple that will grant equal rights for all; the messianic "magic" thereof will be that every Jew has a place to practice as s/he chooses and still feel welcome.

No matter what your exact beliefs are, however, Judaism lacks something without the Temple. We lack a God-centered world, and this makes it harder to live a God-centered life. May we see the Temple rebuilt "bimherah, bimherah, b'yameinu b'karov;" speedily, speedily, soon in our days.

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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!