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Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg zt”l: The Need for Tisha B’Av Part One

“The period of the Three Weeks determines the ‘who we are and how we live’ all the time. For when we mourn over the Bais Hamikdash, when we feel the pain of its loss and the sufferings that our ancestors went through during that period, it is not a “pain” that we are talking about.


Pains don’t last 2,000 years. Pains do not last twenty-five hundred years. The most intense and sharpest of pain dissipate; a year later they’re weak, ten years later they’re weaker, and a thousand years later they’re not felt at all. It isn’t the pain that our ancestors felt which we are mourning; it is the loss that is affecting us to this day. This is the recognition and the statement that we make when we fast on Shivah Asar Betamuz and keep the halachos of the three weeks and of Tisha Bav.

We are making an enormous statement that we are totally different, that the loss of the Bais Hamikdosh makes us poor and suffering today. Not because of what our ancestors suffered, but because of what we are suffering.

We are broken, we are not whole, we are not complete, our lives are shattered, our lives are not what they ought to be because of what happened 2,000 years ago. It is a statement that not having a Beis Hamikdash renders us a broken people, renders us unable to live a normal life.

It means that we have been thrown to a state of disease and illness, where we cannot think correctly or feel correctly or live correctly.

Where we are in a state of darkness, unable to reach out and bring the full light, where we are unable to relate to our Creator as often as we should to live healthy, full lives.

It is not simply that opportunities are lost to us, we are crippled and we live as cripples. By keeping Shiva Asar Betamuz and the whole period that comes with it, we make ourselves aware that we are living as cripples. This is the most important and significant thing of all.

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