Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Results of Poll on: Feelings About Tisha B'Av

Originally published 8/10/11, 10:25 pm.
In our last poll, we inquired:

New Poll: Feelings About Tisha B'Av

Which expresses your innermost feelings about Tisha B'Av [TbA] the best? 

1. TbA is about the Hurban, period. While we commemorate and observe other 
tragedies, to me they're just a distraction from our central purpose, namely 
to wail the loss of the Mikdash.
[Music: Im Eshkocheich...]

2. Since TbA is about ALL of our tragedies, it's high time we remember the more 
recent ones such as the Holocaust and put those older events into the background 
where they belong.
[Music the Partisan song, Or Oyfn Pripitchik...]

3. TbA should be about introspection. Forget about mourning! I make it a day of  
Teshuvah. I just sit in the corner, take stock of myself and do my own Tikkun  
Hanefesh. I rebuild the Mikdash in my own heart.
[Music: Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh...]

4. We survived the Holocaust. We established Israel. We've mourned too much 
already. It's about time to leave the Kinnot in Sheimot and instead to look 
forward towards Moshiach and G'ulah. Let's stop "wallowing in our misery".
[Music: Techezeknah y'dai kol acheinu...]   

Which One Do You Choose?

Your Responses (total 7)
Choice 1 - 57% (4)
Choice 2 - 29% (2)
Choice 3 -
00% (0)
Choice 4 - 14% (1)

Rabbi Hecht
I share with the majority that answered 1 or 2 as I do believe that Tisha B'Av is about mourning as distinct from 3. There is indeed a difference between mourning and teshuva, although I do admit that the latter does have somewhat of a place on this day. The point is that teshuva is ultimately uplifting; it is an inherent part of our human experience. We were created to grow and, while we may be upset with our weaknesses that demand introspection and then improvement, the process of teshuva is an ultimate expression of this aspect of our being. The difference with mourning is that the focus is not on our line of growth but rather simply on the failing. I believe the Rav points out that a reason that an onein cannot do mitzvot is because he overtaken with the defeat that is death. The dignity of the human being is attacked and, as such, the greatest mark of human dignity, the performance of mitzvot, is no longer available to that person at this point of the greatest low. Tisha B'Av is that mark for the nation. As aveilut is the response to aninut thereby drawing a person out of these depths through a process of mourning, of responding to defeat through first acknowledging it and accepting its reality, then moving from this point, Tisha B'Av and the Three Weeks is a time for this experience of mourning, confronting defeat.
The question between 1 and 2 is upon which we should focus, the earlier tragedies or the later ones. The latter are closer to us and clearly touch us more openly; the wound is still so open. Yet, I side with the proponents of 1, for it is in the beginning that we truly understand the fall. It is with the Churban that we truly confront the removal of our dignity. Yet, this is not to say that we should not consider the later tragedies at all. The Kinnot correctly draw them into the total picture that tragically began with the Churban.
I have to disagree with the person who answered 4. Our dignity has not been fully restored. There is still reason to mourn

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