By S. Friedman, Matzav.com
Someone pointed out to me a cute cartoon published in one of the frum magazines. The cartoon portrayed a child being told that he could have a veggie burger during the Nine Days, and listen to Acapella music as well. The child then asks if there is a way to go swimming in a kosher for Nine Days pool.
A humorous episode based on the absurdity and innocence of a childish perspective. However, therein lays a very mature message that we are sending ourselves and our families during this time. Chazal tell us that whoever mourns over the Beis Hamikdash will be zoche to see it’s rebuilding. The aveilus over the Beis Hamikdash is what keeps it relevant for us millennia later.
We go about our lives blissfully protected by our comfortable golus while the Shechina Hakedosha does not have a home. When “Im Eshkocheich” is played by a Chassunah, it becomes another part of the grandiose production- not a somber reminder that even in our happiest moments we can never truly be content without the Beis Hamikdash to serve Hash-m. The Chasam Sofer once observed one of the talmidim of his Yeshiva not crying when reciting Tikkun Chatzos (series of prayers recited at midnight, mourning the loss of the Beis Hamikdash). The Chasam Sofer commented that the bochur’s yichus is questionable; being that he did not properly feel the pain of the Shechina’s golus.
I am not one to comment on living one’s life, all year round, with the pain of the Churbon Habyis constantly tugging at our hearts. But what is our community making out of the Nine Days? If people can have a barbeque with soy franks and veggie burgers and the latest doo-wop group singing in the background, within a week of the greatest tragedies to befall our nation, what does that say about our sense of longing for Moshiach? The heteirim abound as so many of us try to insulate and protect ourselves from the inconveniences of the Nine Days, and try not to change our pleasant summer routine.
Napoleon once was passing through a town during his conquests of Europe when he passed by a shul. He noticed the lights were off, and all of the people were sitting on the ground and crying. He asked what this was all about, to which he was told about the Temple that the Jews used to serve Hash-m, and how it was destroyed on this day. He then asked when this destruction took place, to which he was answered, 2000 years ago. Napoleon surmised that a people that can still mourn over something dear and precious to them thousands of years later are a people with a spirit that cannot be conquered.
If we cannot bring ourselves to turn our attentions to the Beis Hamikdash for even these Nine Days, it is indicative of our becoming more and more assimilated in our current golus. Some people use Tisha Ba’av to reflect on other tragedies, such as the Holocaust, as well, which our rabbonim have told us is certainly appropriate to do. Tisha Ba’av is the day when reflect upon and shed tears over all the tzarros, both personal and communal that have befallen us.
What’s important to keep in mind is that all of the tzarros that we and our forefathers have experienced are a result of the golus, which all began and continues, unfortunately, with the departure of the Shechina from the Beis Hamikdash. Let us try to make an effort to expose ourselves to the Shechina’s suffering, and as result, we should be zoche to share in the joy of the geula.