The Second Beit HaMikdash was famously destroyed due to sinat chinam (baseless hatred). Yet, Tisha B’Av’s designation as a day of mourning predates either Mikdash.
As we read in Parshat Shlach, the meraglim (spies)slandered Eretz Yisrael, and in response, the nation cried all night. The Gemara (BT Taanit 29a) teaches:
“Rabbah said in the name of R’ Yochanan, ‘That day was the day before Tisha B’Av. HaKadosh Baruch Hu said to them: “You wept a gratuitous weeping, and I will establish for you a weeping for the generations.”’”
And so, as an antidote to the meraglim, I’d like to present – with your permission – one of the myriad things I love about our beautiful Land: namely, the fact that this is a Jewish country.
1) The Jewish calendar
In Israel, the calendar revolves around the Jewish festivals, and “the holiday season” refers to Tishrei - not December. Also, even secular Israelis wish each other a “Shabbat Shalom” and/or a “Chag Samei’ach”.
2) Corporate culture
As some of you know, the CTO is spending his summer working at a high-tech firm.
Although I was a few years older than he is now when I was first introduced to corporate America, I experienced a bit of a culture shock. By the end of the first day, I realized that I wasn’t in
Kansas Stern College anymore.
In contrast, there’s a daily mincha minyan in the CTO’s building. (On Shivah Assar B’Tamuz, he and his fellow congregants went next door to a different building, which has a Sefer Torah.) Also, each day, the employees are served breakfast (pastry, cheeses, and vegetables), and it’s all kosher. And when he went out to lunch with his co-workers last week, they ate at a mehadrin restaurant.
3) Shaving during the Three Weeks
Unless matters have changed drastically over the past eleven years, when the Three Weeks or Sefirah rolls around, most employees in the Diaspora have to shave.
But here in Israel, during this time of year, one sees men all over the place sporting what can charitably be described as “the scruffy look”, and yet no one thinks twice. It’s not considered to be unprofessional to observe Jewish mourning practices, and even the IDF permits religious soldiers to refrain from shaving when it is prohibited by Jewish law.
Feel free to leave your own examples in the comment section.
.יה”ר שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו
Have an easy and meaningful fast.