Forms of Mourning: Misped I: A Sense of Vulnerability
“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/Misped, 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 Wailing:
A Lament for Tyre: “The ships of Tarshish serve as carriers for your wares. You are filled with heavy cargo in the heart of the sea. Your oarsmen take you out to the high seas. But the east wind will break you to pieces in the heart of the sea. Your wealth, merchandise and wares, your mariners, seamen and shipwrights, your merchants and all your soldiers, and everyone else on board will sink into the heart of the sea on the day of your shipwreck. The shorelands will quake when your seamen cry out. All who handle the oars will abandon their ships; the mariners and all the seamen will stand on the shore. They will raise their voice and cry bitterly over you; they will sprinkle dust on their heads and roll in ashes. They will shave their heads because of you and will put on sackcloth. They will weep over you with anguish of soul and with bitter mourning. As they wail and mourn over you, they will take up a lament concerning you: “Who was ever silenced like Tyre, surrounded by the sea?” When your merchandise went out on the seas, you satisfied many nations; with your great wealth and your wares you enriched the kings of the earth. Now you are shattered by the sea in the depths of the waters; your wares and all your company have gone down with you. All who live in the coastlands are appalled at you; their kings shudder with horror and their faces are distorted with fear. The merchants among the nations hiss at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.” (Ezekiel 27:25-36)
The nations that witness Tyre’s loss of its great wealth will mourn just as they do over the death of a close relative (Malbim)
This Misped is the sense of vulnerability we experience when we observe someone else losing all they have, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” This Misped is the expression of all we experience when there is a serious downturn in the economy and we mourn the loss of security.
This is the Tisha B’Av Misped of, “If the great people of Jerusalem could lose everything; if the heroes of Beitar can lose all; if the Kedoshim of Europe could suffer so much at the hands of the most civilized nation on earth; how can we possibly feel secure? We approach God on Tisha B’Av with that sense of vulnerability as we mourn the destruction of incredible Spiritual power and security.