Dancing over Destruction

Thursday, 26 July, 2018 - 2:26 pm

We are very excited to announce, that in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Chabad of Louisiana will be hosting Eva Schloss, the sister of Anne Frank, for a Holocaust memorial lecture on Tuesday, November 6. She is from a generation that is fading and their stories must be told so that the world will know and remember. If you would like to be involved in the event planning or sponsorship please let me or one of my colleagues, Rabbi Zelig Rivkin, Rabbi Nemes, and Rabbi Ceitlin, know. The time and venue will be determined in the coming days. Tickets will be available once the details are set.

This past Sunday we marked the 9th of Av, anniversary of the destruction of the Holy Temple. There is a fascinating passage in Lurianic Kabbala where the question is asked: Why do we diminish our mourning on Tisha B’av in the afternoon and recite passages of comfort in the Mincha prayer? The Talmud indicates that the main destruction of the Temple actually occurred in the afternoon! So the mourning should seemingly intensify in the afternoon rather than lessen.

He cites a Talmudic commentary explaining a curious verse in Psalm 79. “A song by Asaph. O G-d, nations have entered Your inheritance, they defiled Your Holy Sanctuary; they turned Jerusalem into heaps of rubble.” Asks the Talmud, “A song by Asaph? It should be a lamentation by Asaph! They should cry rather than sing! The sages explain, that with the burning of the Temple, the Jewish people realized that the wrath of G-d was being poured onto the “wood and stones” of the Temple structure rather than over the nation of Israel itself. They therefore took comfort from and “rejoiced” over the complete destruction of the Temple and the song was composed to express their gratitude to Hashem for that. (The Arizal offers an alternative explanation that is not mutually exclusive to the above commentary. He proposes that since the potential Moshiach was born immediately in the wake of the destruction, therefore Tisha B’av afternoon we focus on the comfort of the future redemption.)

The Rebbe cites this teaching and points out that from this we can derive that, the notion of Tisha B’av afternoon being a time of comfort, actually started that very first Tisha B’av, not a year or years later. As the Jewish people watched the flames devouring the building, they rejoiced in the knowledge that Am Yisrael Chai, the Jewish nation lives and will live forever. Buildings may come and go, but the people will survive and thrive.

Talk about optimism and a positive attitude… This may be the origin of the Jewish perspective on survival. Certainly this shapes our own approach to Tisha B’av. This idea is emphasized even more in the days following the fast day, where the focus is only on the hope for the future! May our fervent hopes and wishes for redemption and comfort be realized in totality very soon!

Congratulations to Camp Gan Israel on another wonderful summer! Much appreciation to Rabbi Peretz and Mushka Kazen and their amazing staff for giving our children an awesome experience!

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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