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Tisha B’Av Summaries

Va’etchanan-Tisha B’Av 5769-2009

“Tisha B’Av: Never Beyond Redemption”

Given the extent of the evil, and the commitment to evil that pervaded those early generations, it is almost inconceivable that G-d would grant his prodigal children forgiveness. Yet, not only did G-d grant forgiveness to His children, He actually predicted their return, saying that no matter how distant the Jewish people stray, they will always be welcomed back.

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Va’etchanan-Tisha B’Av 5768-2008

“A Hopeful Message for Jewish Future”

In parashat Va’etchanan, we find the well-known citation, “Kee to’leed ba’neem,” which is read on Tisha B’Av. It predicts that the Jewish people will stray from G-d and commit horrible sins. And yet, in one of the most optimistic statements, G-d assures His people that they will always be welcomed back with open arms, no matter how far they stray.

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5767-2007

“Zion Shall be Redeemed through Justice”

The prophet Isaiah states that Zion will be redeemed through justice. It is no accident therefore that the Torah portion read before Tisha Ba’Av, the fast of the 9th of Av, opens with an exhortation about honesty in judgment. The establishment of the Sanhedrin, the High Court of Jewish law, is meant to serve as a paradigm of justice, leading to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, soon in our days.

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5766-2006

“Isaiah’s Message to Contemporary Jews”

The powerful message found in the first chapter of Isaiah is entirely appropriate for the Tisha B’Av period. The prophet exhorts the Jewish people to take the performance of their ritual mitzvot more seriously, to invest deeper meaning in their religious observance, and to enrich these spiritual practices with greater sincerity and passion.

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5764-2004

“Building a ‘New’ Sanctuary”

This has been a difficult and challenging year for the Jewish people. Terror attacks, anti-Semitism, assimilation and intermarriage are on the rise. It has also been a particularly hard year for observant Jews, who have been challenged with the appearance of crustaceans in their waters and wigs that might have been used for idolatry. Perhaps what we need during this period of mourning for the Temple is to spiritually chill-out, to calm down and find a sanctuary in our belief system.

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Va’etchanan-Tisha B’Av 5762-2002

“Loving the Land of Israel”

One of the kinot, the liturgical poems that are read on Tishah B’Av, speaks of the calamity that befell the Jewish communities of the Rhineland, Germany–Worms, Speyer and Mainz (Mayence)–in the year 1096 during the First Crusade. The ArtScroll commentary on this poem throws out a profound challenge to the Jewish people today. Will we rise to the occasion and acknowledge the special gift of the land of Israel, or will we ignore it, and continue to compose elegies for the losses that we sustain?

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5762-2002

“Judging our People Favorably”

The powerful words of Isaiah in this week’s Haftorah resound today with surprising relevance, as if they were pronounced only yesterday. Despite Isaiah’s harsh assessment of the people, we, like the prophet of old, need to look upon the people of Israel and judge them favorably. After all, contemporary Jews face similar challenges to those of the ancients and need to be judged favorably as well.

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5761-2001

Eichah, The Annual Search for Meaning and Introspection”

In order for the Fast of the 9th of Av to be meaningful, it is necessary for us to focus on the proper message. Eichah and Ah’yeka are two of the prominent themes of Tisha Ba’Av. G-d asks the Jews: Where are you? What have you done with your lives? How can this tragedy have possibly happened? How can we improve ourselves?

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