The Three Weeks between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av (Tisha b’Av) is a time of mourning and reflection, grieving the losses and hardships that the Jewish people have endured ever since the Destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE.
Our sorrow over what was and what is no more is layered, as moment after historical moment has brought catastrophe to our people. The Prophet Jeremiah recorded the destruction of Jerusalem in the indelibly powerful images the Book of Lamentations. Later pious poets wove the disasters of their times into Kinot, liturgical dirges recited on Tisha b’Av, written during the Middle Ages. Nowadays, many take Tisha b’Av as another opportunity to face the unspeakable abyss of the Holocaust.
The losses we mourn during this time are collective, and, appropriately, we mourn our past together as a community. But we also have a personal response to and responsibility on Tisha b’Av: Teshuvah–self-reflection, self-assessment, return, and re-dedication. On this fast day, we are charged with considering our individual present and where we stand today.
Next Sunday, July 18, Ma’ayan invites you to a shiur (lecture) by Rabbi David Shapiro that will explore these two themes, Aveilut, mourning, and Teshuvah, repentance, and the way that each features in the Haftarah readings of the day. Rabbi Shapiro, Rosh Yeshiva of Maimonides School and Rabbi Yitzhak Twersky Chair in Talmud and Jewish Thought, will incorporate relevant passages from the Talmud and from Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah into his analysis.