Thursday, July 26, 2012

Approaching Tisha B'Av

This year Tisha B'Av coincides with Shabbat.  That delays the fast and the mourning rituals until the sun sets on Saturday night into Sunday.  As I did last year, I plan a private observance with my MP3 player instead of a more formal attendance at synagogue where Eicha is chanted, Kinot are read and men delay their t'fillin until the following day.  While non-observant Judaism has been on the decline, recognition of Tisha B'Av as an integral part of heritage has gained increasing recognition.  Just as constructing sukkot in the back yard or studying on shavuot night have captured a wider audience, so has some recognition of destruction.  Sinat Chinam and Avodah Zarah which brought the dire situation about probably continue as they always did and as I wonder if these enhanced observances reflect more on ethnicity than religiosity there is something to be said for setting aside one's daily amusement to engage in a measure of Judaism.

Tisha B'Av as a communal event never captured my personal interest.  There is something contrived about sitting on benches or the floor, the sincerity of belief that we bring about misfortune through our own misconduct has not been there for centuries.  We are victimized because the external forces are evil, not because we dissed the Rabbi or voted for Goldwater or refused to accept patients on Medicaid.

So when the sun sets on Shabbos, private electronic introspection commences.  Yeshiva University and the Orthodox Union offer podcasts of a quality that the local sanctuaries cannot duplicate.  I do not yet know what the subjects of the Rabbis will be but that is the destination for me again this year.

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