Thursday, August 03, 2006

Tisha b'Av

Today was the Jewish fast day of Tisha b'Av. In Jewish history, Tisha b'Av (which is just a date -- the 9th day of Av) is like a September 11, only magnified by having several huge catastrophes all happen on the same day throughout history. On Tisha b'Av, 586 BCE, the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. On Tisha b'Av, 70 CE, the Romans destroyed the second Temple. In 135 CE, when the last outpost of Jewish rebels were vanquished by the Romans, that was on Tisha b'Av. Jews expelled from Spain? Tisha b'Av. So you can see why it is a very solemn day of commemoration. You can also see why Jews might be a little apprehensive about the day. If Hezbollah terrorists were going to land a huge rocket barrage in Tel Aviv, today would have been the day.

While I'm sure there have been quieter Tisha b'Avs, I was relieved that nothing hugely climactic happened today to pile on to the tragic tradition. Not that each of the 8 Israeli civilian deaths, the 4 Lebanese civilian deaths, or the several military deaths weren't tragedies. Sadly, those numbers do not distinguish today from yesterday or from tomorrow. Today was a day for contemplating what has been lost and cannot be recovered. It is also a day for contemplating the remarkable human ability, in the wake of devastation, to pick up and keep on going.

1 comment:

Eric said...

It's unfortunate, but there are some who may disagree with your September 11 analogy.

As for me, though, I just want to say thanks for your continued measured insights (read: thoughtful, not necessarily "PC") into current events like those in the Middle East. In an increasingly partisan world, it's certainly a breath of fresh air.