Thursday, July 30, 2009

Olly & Lightman: Tisha B'Av Edition

My friend Lightman leins brilliantly. He and my father are the only two people I can consistently trust to lein beautifully, their knowledge of dikduk and language supreme.

Thus, when Lightman told me he'd be at Rimon aka The Mordechai T. Mezrich Center for Jewish Learning in New Jersey for Tisha B'Av and asked if I wanted to come, I knew that I had to do so. And so we went off to this little community tucked away in the middle of nowhere. (That journey included subways, trains, the fact that there is no evolutionary function to the hiccup and so forth...)

And while on the one hand the whole experience was beautiful due to the fact that Lightman chants Eicha with such feeling, the other part that made it brilliant were the pure people who assembled there. Many of these people are highly intelligent, sporting PhDs and other such distinguished titles, but they are learning and growing in their Judaism (so that Lightman and I might know more than they in some areas.) Despite this, it was their total dedication to the words and the way they absorbed the lesson of the kind of people we must strive to be in order to combat sinat chinam that moved me. These are people who actually care about these words and ideas; their Tisha B'Av is one where they do mourn the Temple. And when they come out to hear Lightman, it is not as a matter of course, but due to the fact that they have specifically cleared their schedules in order to "sit shiva for the Temple" as one man put it- in simple and beautiful language.

I've always thought of sitting shiva in terms of people. When it comes to Temples, I've thought about mourning the loss of it or the impact it could have on the world- but those simple words never occurred to me. The man saw the loss of the Temple as similar to the loss of a person; in the same way we mourn the dead person, so we must mourn the Temple. To him, the Temple had been personified; it was worthy of that kind of sadness. (This reminded me very much of the Baal Shem Tov story of the simple man who prayed for God to 'atzar/ otzer' the heavens, where the word actually means 'stop' but the man meant it as 'squeeze' like you squeeze the grapes...that God should squeeze the rain from the heavens.)

Would that I could attain what they have.


Tent-Peg Wielder said...

Would that I could have been there with you!

Anonymous said...

(And thank-you for the post!)

Tzvi Feifel said...

You've never heard my father lain, have you? :-)

The Talmid said...

"sit shiva for the Temple"

Chana, I'm surprised you didn't get that feeling from what the Rav wrote in many places, including Out of the Whirwind - the progression of aveilus during the 3 weeks, culminating in Tisha B'av itself which is total aveilus of shiva. Of course, the Rav means we are sitting shiva for the Beis Hamikdash, but his point is that Aveilus for something that happened 2000 years ago is much different than the progression of a current/chadasha aveilus.

May you & your readers be blessed with good health & happiness and not have to worry about practical hilchos aveilus.

Ev said...

I have read the full article at the Borsa
Has been a pretty good article,