Forms of Mourning: Crying I: A Directed Cry for Direction
“When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes (Esther 4:1-3).”
There are many forms of mourning in the Bible; fasting, crying, wailing, sackcloth and ashes, and, not mentioned in these verses, Kinah, or, lamentation. I intend to post a series of practical exercises for Tisha B’Av based on these different forms of mourning. We will now begin Crying:
“Yet God longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For God is Lord of justice. Fortunate are all who wait for Him! O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Master of All gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ (Isaiah 30:18-21)
“O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem,” but not those who lived in the other cities of Judah; people who did not look to God. Only the people of Jerusalem receive the promise of, “you will weep no more.” Only those who did not leave Jerusalem to turn to Egypt for military help will not weep as the others who did. “How gracious He will be when you cry for help,” as God responded to Chizkiah when he tore his clothes and went to the Beit Hamikdash to cry out for God’s help to save him from Sancherev. Just as God heard Chizikiah, and responded through Isaiah, so He will respond to you, and say, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ (Radak)
Isaiah is not describing the power of a cry, but of a cry of someone who turns only to God for help. This is a Tisha B’Av cry with the awareness that we cry only to God, with the desire to hear Him teach us, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ This is a Tisha B’Av cry that expresses all those moments when we were at loss how to respond to certain challenges. This is a cry of someone desperate for clear direction, who wants the answer only from God.