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07/25/2023 09:17:15 AM


In just a few days many Jews will fast in observance of Tisha b'Av, a day of mourning. While over the millennia the day has accrued layers of meaning -- not just the First Temple destroyed that day, but also the Second; the Crusades launched that day; the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290 and from Spain in 1492...the original ones are the ones that cost the Jewish people our homeland and started the Diaspora. It took nearly 2,000 years until we came back with an attempt at sovereignty and self-government.

The rabbis taught that at its spiritual root, the expulsion of the Temple was caused by senseless hatred that Jews felt for one another. That in-fighting and factions destroyed us from within. Of course, the Babylonians and then the Romans played their part too. But the spiritual message of the ancient Sages is that when we are divided against ourselves, we are lost.

When I fast in a few days, I will be fasting in hopes that the divisions that are tearing apart Israeli society will soon be surmounted. That people -- all of whom value reason and reasonableness, even if they cannot agree on its place in the judicial system -- should apply their minds and hearts to building the state that has been the dream of the Jewish people these two thousand years. We have enough work to do to make peace with our Palestinian neighbors as well as the rest of the world. Let us not turn on one another, let us find peaceful resolution, let us find a way to make the modern state of Israel into the temple of our dreams.

Photo:  Amir Levy/Getty Images

Mon, April 15 2024 7 Nisan 5784