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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tisha B'Av Again

Tisha B'Av is almost over. The mood has changed from one of sorrow and mourning to one of...not joy, not excitement, but meaning and purpose.

In one "short" (Ha ha!) hour we will be breaking our fasts. We will be sitting down to big dinners eagerly awaited. I can taste the water and pasta and fruit already...

But that could hardly be farther from the point. As Tisha B'Av ends, we must think not only of satiating our hunger but also of the Tisha B'Av message and what we will do with it.

The Tisha B'Av message, at least to me, is that we live in a broken world. Something--I'm not sure what exactly, but I know there was something--went wrong when the first Temple was destroyed. Something went wrong again with the destruction of the second Temple. It is up to us to fix our broken world.

How do we go about fixing the world? In my mind, there are two answers, the easier one and the harder one.

The easier answer is that we must perform mitzvot, fulfilling the holy commandments to the best of our abilities. We must keep kosher, pray three times a day, observe Shabbat...etc.

It is the harder answer, however, that is more compelling and in my mind ultimately more important. It is taught that the second Temple was destroyed because of senseless hatred, and that that same sin keeps the Temple from being rebuilt. What is the solution? We must LOVE. With all of our power, we must care for our fellow men. We must help satisfy their material needs, but more than that, we must ACCEPT. We must not merely tolerate but CELEBRATE the differences between us and the diversity of humanity.

That is how I will rebuild the world. I challenge you to do it your way.

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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!