|The Sin of the Spies (Bamidbar 13) which inaugurated Tisha bAv for the Jewish people.|
Sometimes, I feel the pain of galut more intensely after making aliyah than I ever did from outside the Land.
I consider it a great personal merit to live in Israel and am grateful to have connected to the desire of Hashem to see his children resettled in the Land of Israel. As I mark off time in my new life in Israel, I am grateful to still be here, to have not been forced to leave Israel for any reason.
Until this year, I didn't realize that Tisha B'Av is really all about aliyah. And the fact that aliyah is not yet a burning desire for so many Jews is, for me, the pain of galut.
What else is the pain of galut for me?
The Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future put together a 50+ page booklet with divrei Torah and insights about Tisha B'Av 5772. One piece, written by a North America rebbetzin, was about the importance of teaching our children how to handle tragedy. She writes:
Adar and Av both come every year. That means when we are happy, we know we will be sad again and when we are sad we know we will be happy again.... Just like weHer assumption that Tisha B'Av will be on next year's calendar as a day of sadness, her seeming inability to incorporate the tradition that Tisha B'Av will become a holiday in the time of Moshiach (may we merit to see that transformation soon) is the pain of galut for me.
know that Tisha B’Av is on next year’s calendar...
That the institution called The Center for the Jewish Future is located in New York and not Jerusalem is the pain of galut for me.
David Ha'Ivri wrote a piece called "What Are We Fasting For?" about how he, a Jew who is deeply connected to Eretz Yisrael, found himself in California on a Tisha B'Av a few years ago. He writes:
But on that hot summer day in Los Angeles, towards the end of the long and hard day of fasting, I looked around at my fellow Jews sitting on the floor of their magnificent and air-conditioned synagogue in their slippers and suits. Their nice cars were parked in the shul’s private parking lot, all not so far from their beautiful American homes and Jewish community schools and other institutions. And when I realized that they were investing more in building their community’s Jewish services, I became sad. I realized that they feel that they are at home, and not in exile. They are making plans to be there for many more years. They have forgotten the essence of what we have been mourning for, for so long. It is heart breaking.
It dawned on me that my Jewish brothers and sisters are comfortable here in the exile (which they prefer to call “Diaspora”). They are acting out the Jewish custom of fasting on this holy day, but have detached it from its true point, since its meaning is to preserve our national aspiration to return to our land, rebuild it, and treasure it forever. They feel content to go one day without food and fun, and follow it up with a kosher Chinese or Sushi treat.
I felt a real pain for my brothers who have become so absorbed in the comforts of the West that they have become deaf to the inner calling of our national soul, to return to our true home in the East. I had the urge to tell my brothers sitting there on the floor some 24 hours into the longest and hardest fast of our yearly cycle that they, their community and beautiful shul, mikvah and kosher food are the greatest evidence of what we mourn for today, the destruction of our Temple and dispersion of our people.That Jewish people are still buying property, building businesses, shuls and schools with no plans to leave their places outside of Israel is the pain of galut for me.
That the Jewish Federations in the US are dropping the word Zionism from their global planning document because it is considered too controversial a term is the pain of galut for me.
(NOTE: They are not ceasing financial support for Israel, just the use of the word Zionism in their platform.)
Approximately 11 and a half minutes into this short film, Yishai Fleisher teaches that, ultimately, Tisha B'Av will be a great festival when all the Jewish people will be returned to the Land of Israel, when all Jews will be reunited here.
Just as I imagine that Hashem grieves over His children who are still living so far from home, so do I grieve personally over the absence of so many people I love who are not together with me in the Land. The painful reality is that we are not yet reunited.
And, for me, that is the deepest pain of galut.