It is a curious time of year for us, that is, the Jewish people. It is that for me as well as an individual. Full disclosure requires, I suppose, that I say that the tenth of Av is my birthday and that the day prior to this historic communal fast—the 8th of Av– if my wife’s birthday. So go ahead and have some fun planning birthday parties around those two days.
But I like Tisha B’Av and have always felt that way perhaps because it is my birthday but there are also a host of additional reasons some of which I will attempt to enumerate here. Let me put it this way, I believe in the temporariness of the 9th of Av and that as a generation in this advanced age we are hopefully on the cusp of events in the world that will allow the circumstances to evolve that turns the sadness and the communal dejection of Tisha B’Av into a day of celebration.
And the additional good news is that this year we are privy to at the very least a hint or hunch connected to that eventual reality. The fact of the matter is that in a sense there is not going to be a Tisha B’Av this year. In a way you can say that it is not exactly being cancelled the way our sages tell us it indeed will be one of these days. This year on Tisha B’Av you will be able to partake and indulge in the most sumptuous and delectable feast that you can imagine. Everything from fried chicken to the best spare ribs to classical Cholent —everything that you would not even dare to think about during the 9 days, this year you will be eating on Tisha B’Av. And that’s because this year Tisha B’Av is being pushed off or postponed because the actual calendar day occurs on Shabbos.
I don’t know about you but I have mixed feelings about when Tisha B’av falls on our annual calendar. Looking at the calendar at the beginning of the summer and observing that two of those precious summer Sunday’s would be fast days used to conjure up something of a disappointment. It is something along the lines of—“well there go two Sundays”.
Last summer I made a point of being in Israel for Tisha B’Av. I thought it was a once in a lifetime experience especially watching the crowd gather as the sun descends into the horizon and nighttime arrives. There we were one minute just milling around the Kotel plaza shmoozing and then the next minute sitting on the floor, looking up at the night sky, staring at The Wall— all that does remain and lamenting.
This year the way the schedule turned out we ended up being in Israel for the 17th of Tammuz. It is somewhat of a different experience than Tisha B’av in Jerusalem. First of all the night before is really not the 3 Weeks yet as that really begins with the arrival of the morning and the first of these two fasts. On that Saturday night which was technically 17th of Tammuz it seemed like there was something of a party of food festival in Jerusalem. The restaurants were jammed with a combination of people who were fasting as well as not fasting the next day. I looked around that night, surveyed the situation and wondered whether or not this place—the center or hub of Israel’s capital city—ever slows down.
More in this weeks 5TJT.