Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gush Katif ... Remember, Return, Rebuild!!!



This month of August marks the Sixth Anniversary of the Giving of Gush Katif to our Arab enemy in the vain hope of some mythical  'Peace'.  Six years on that Aspiration lies trampled,  the pain of those torn from Gush Katif remains real. I meant to feature this Anniversary earlier in the month ~ right after Tisha B'Av ~ but I got distracted in a way I didn't expect by the Beck business.  I want to recall this Anniversary on this last day of August!

The Mishna (Taanit 4:6) lists Five calamities that struck Jews on Tisha B'Av. Some 500 years ago, also on this day, Jews were banished from Spain.

Then came, on this day, yet another banishment, in ways much more painful.   In 2005 (it was scheduled on Tisha B'Av, but actually took place the next day), Jews were brutally evicted from their residences, businesses and properties of Gush Katif. Many were third generation citizens.   You would think a Jewish government would know something about significant Jewish dates. Yet they chose Tisha B'Av to do their dirty work. Jews of Gush Katif were told Tisha B'Av was the final day, by which time they were required to abandon their birthrights. 

The Five calamities the Mishna lists that befell on Tisha B'Av are .....  
The decree to forbid entry to the Holy land for the generation of the desert; 
The First and Second Temples were destroyed ~ Our Beit Ha'Mikdash
The city of Beitar was captured; 
And, Jerusalem was smashed to rubble after the destruction. 

For generations other unfortunate events occurred on Tisha B'Av, the harshest of them being the expulsion from Spain. On August 2, 1492, King Ferdinand of Spain proclaimed that no Jewish foot may remain on Spanish soil.

Then came the expulsion from Gush Katif. It's one thing when Goyim oppress Jews.  Jewish law tells us "Esav hates Yaakov", so we can somewhat understand the cruelty committed.  But how can we begin to fathom cruelty when a Jew commits such atrocity to another Jew? Can we compare an eviction of Jews perpetrated by Goyim in a Goy nation to one where a Jewish government in a Jewish country does the same to its own people? 


Gush Katif (גוש קטיף‎, lit. Harvest Bloc) was a bloc  of 17 "Israeli Settlements" in the southern Gaza strip.  In August 2005,  the Israeli army was ordered to expel 8,600+ residents of Gush Katif.   They were evicted from the area and their homes demolished as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan.   This is how Wikipedia describes the Disengagement.  I'm going to describe it differently ......

Gush Katif is a strip of land bordering Gaza where 21 Jewish communities had turned the desert to bloom .... it boasted some of the highest developed Green House farming projects in Israel, and indeed, in the world.  A 'Breadbasket' of Israel,  today, it is part of the Gaza centre of a palestinian terrorist hell-hole.  And it is 'Judenrein' !!!  

0 Israelis, dead or alive, remain in Gaza

The Orchards & thriving farmland has been Razed.  Nothing Remained! 

Israel's government, leaned over backwards to appease the anti-Semite nations of the world who wanted, according to the Road Map Peace Plan, a palestinian State to share Eretz Yisrael , the ONLY Jewish State on the planet,  with Jews  by creating " two viable, secure states living in peace side by side "   This has been shown to be falsity & a farce.  The Arab plan of gaining Eretz Yisrael in "Pieces" remains intact!! 

In retrospect, the recklessness of that move has become all too apparent, as Gaza has been transformed into a launching pad for rocket attacks against the Jewish state,  leaving southern towns and cities across the Negev,  such as Sderot, in the crosshairs of palestinian terrorists.  The fiasco of Israel’s retreat has led many of those who supported the move to publicly admit the error of their ways.   In November 2007,  former Defence Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer of the Labour Party told an Israeli radio station, “I admit and I confess that I was among those who strongly supported Ariel Sharon (and the withdrawal). Today I say, with my head held high, ‘We erred, we made a very big mistake.’”   Amein to that!! 

Other senior Israeli military officers, pundits, journalists, and politicians have likewise acknowledged that the Gaza pull-out has proven to be ill-advised. And neither, I might add, can I understand it either.  Indeed, it is still hard to accept that the forcible removal of Gaza’s Jews took place, or to believe that we could have possibly reached such a low point in the history of our nation.  After so many years of struggle and sacrifice,  those once celebrated as pioneers by successive Israeli governments were demonized as obstacles to peace and treated with contempt by much of the Israeli media.  The Israel Defence Forces were deployed against the citizens of their own state,  with the express purpose not of defending the Jewish people but of exiling them from parts of their ancestral birthright. And withdrawal under fire, once derided as capitulation to terror, suddenly became official government policy.

So, on 18th,  August 2005,  Israel carried out its "disengagement initiative",  handing over all of Gaza and part of the West Bank  to the Arab enemy  ~ poor palestinians ~   making the tiny Jewish State  the first country in modern history to give up land acquired in a defensive war.    The forced evacuation of Jewish citizens from Gush Katif   by their own government rival the discriminating and brutal treatment of Jews by Jew-hating German authorities under Hitler ~ but this time in their own Land.  Ha'Shems Land .... Not ours to Give away at all!

The Anti - Semitic world was gleeful,  trumpeting the evacuation of Gaza as signaling the end of the dream of  “Greater Israel.”   But I believe they could not have been more mistaken.  For the dream of return rightly lives on.  It might take years or even decades to achieve,  but of one thing we can all be sure .... the Jewish people will eventually bounce back,  just as we have throughout our history.  And soon enough, the sand dunes of Gaza will once again most assuredly be  Eretz Yisrael!    B'Zereth Ha'Shem!!




Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Beck Business !!


This is not going to be one of those well worked out blogs in which I present an analysis or the telling of a tale that I post as often as possible ... instead it is going to reflect my turbulent life last week which was a series of bruising battles,  reflecting controversial conversation throughout Eretz Yisrael caused by the "Call to Courage Crusade" of this man, Glenn Beck.  Not an Israeli ..... and not a Jew!!

I have been frustrated to the point not only of tears  because of my position of opposition to Beck, (both on & off Facebook!) & defriended, accused of sarcasm & sadism,  belittled horribly by those whom I credited with integrity.  I'm battle weary,  most especially because it is fellow JEWS that I have battled most vociferously. I almost can't believe it!!

We face many enemies here in Eretz Yisrael this week, this day. Hamas is an Enemy .... the constant Rain of Rockets across the South is more than enough evidence of that. Obama is an enemy for sure with his pro-'palestinian' agenda. Beck is also an enemy .... an exceedingly stealthy one. And his enemy presence has been very keenly felt this whole week in Eretz Yisrael, especially in Yerushalayim, which I left this week in a bid to escape his entourage.  In Israel,  Beck has proven himself the enemy if we didn't know it before! .....  And I did!!!!


As an aside, I am now less than 5 miles from the Syrian border here in the Southern Golan & FB wanted to record my new location as Syria, not Israel.  It IS Israel.  So every day brings it's own battle for a Jewish Girl. Beck was a battle this week in a battleground I underestimated muchly ...... My Jewish friends!!

Beck has divided Jews ... quite viciously and unpreceedently. Not in America and with American eyes or an American perspective,  but in Ha'Shems Holy land itself.  Eretz Yisrael.  The JEWISH land of Yisrael. Which Beck and his entourage persist in calling the 'Holy Land'. Their "holy land" because of their mangd, the jc Idol, which they have nauseatingly repeated ad nauseum this week,  recalling 'miracles' and other fraudlent events.  Christianity is a HUGE enemy .... requiring the spiritual extermination of Judaism,  as Islam desires our physical extermination as Jews.  And we have felt the forces of both keenly this week here in EY.   Christiantiy is as much or more of an enemy force than Obama, and what concerns me is division and rancour among Jews, not Unity,  to bring about the defeat and expulsion of christianity from the land of Yisrael.  American Jews need to understand the effect of this Idolator outside of America!  Especially they need to understand what it means to accept his Idolatry in Eretz Yisrael !!!!!

Christians, including Beck et al,  believe that we Jews are just blinded and that every knee ~ including Jewish knees ~ will bow to the jesus Idol in Ha'Shems holiest city,  Jerusalem.  Even this morning my blog was still receiving messages to this effect,  (Love Hurts .... when christians HURT !!! )  The Oxford English Dictionary defines "to bow" as to respect or accept.  How many Jews have done that to this Idolator this week???

The Torah Parshah this week ~  Parshah Re'eh ~ Re'eh means to Behold, or See.  That so many Jews don't see is very worrisome to me. To feed Jews (or indeed any people) religious poison and lead them astray from Ha'Shem is a crime against humanity!

Parsha
Re'eh ~
tells us what to do with Idolators & their idolatries, whether they be physical artifacts or poisonous ideas which divide Jews as Beck spread .... "These are the statutes and the ordinances, which ye shall observe to do in the land which Ha'Shem, the G*d of thy fathers, hath given thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth. Ye shall surely destroy all the places, wherein the nations that ye are to dispossess served their gds, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every leafy tree. And ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and burn their Asherim with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gds; and ye shall destroy their name out of that place"   ~ Devarim 12.1-3 ~

What could possibly be unclear with Ha'Shems view ... He Hates Idolatry!!!  And there will be a price for trusting christianity or Beck above Ha'Shem, here in Yisrael.  Look at this open display of christian Idolatry at Ha'Shems Home. The Kotel.  Zionist Idolatry!!!!


Click to Enlarge ....

Glenn Beck is Dangerous ... He is initating another Crusade, with the aim this time to Crush Judaism spiritually. He proposes to solve the "Jewish problem" by simply having all christians proclaim themselves to be Jews. (A spin on the more usual "replacement" ethics of christianity .... the real meaning of his support  is "I am replacing you"  as a "priest" of Jerusalem).  Either way, it is the "end" of  Am Yisrael & of the Jewish Nation of Israel.  In his way, we will all be "equal" and all "paths" will be legitimate,  including the dissolution of Eretz Yisrael  as the "Jewish" State & the acceptance of a "palestinian" state its stead. Remember, September 20th is earmarked for precisely this purpose by the Useless Nothings at the misnamed United Nations !!!!!

Jews have exclusivity over Jerusalem. Political Soverignity and Spiritual Soverignity.  The Capital of the Jewish State of Yisrael,  and the home of Ha'Shem,  Master of the Universe, the G*d of Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya'akov.  Esav and Yishmael have their own "holy places" and these are NOT in Eretz Yisrael.  Beck's agenda is actually replacement theology.   A theology that aims to bring waves of christian Aliyah here (deceptively) and to use the Jewish renaissance in Israel as a springboard to a christian renaissance.  A Christian Crusade for Jerusalem.  Not for the First time in history.  The Third Time for Rome!!   Y'hudah HaMakabi, the son of Matityahu HaKohen, was the first to make an alliance with the Roman senate to strengthen alliances against the Yavanim who had previously occupied Eretz Yisra'el. Within a century Rome replaced Y'hudi rule with Edomi-Herodian rule, decades later Rome directly ruled it themselves, and under a century later they destroyed the Temple and Y'rushalayim entirely. We have just emerged from remembering this at Tisha B'Av.  How can we lend Beck the legitimacy of Manhigut Yehudit???

Christians have ulterior motives, and my fellow Jews are cluelessly clinging onto their Western culture and sensibilities, allowing themselves to be seduced by the Christians' greatest weapon, the guise of "friendship".  The smile and the flowery tongue of Esav are just as dangerous as the sword of Yishma'el.  The Kiss Of Esav (הנשיקה של עשו) is just as dangerous as the bite of Yishma'el.    Christianity & Islam are EQUAL ENEMIES.   My Grandfather made the wrong choice because he trusted in German Culture & Civilization and Goy benevolence in the 1930's.  Berlin was the Civilized & Cultural Capital of Europe.  It almost wiped my family from the Earth.  Are we so myopic that we will watch it happen again???

Parshat Re'eh also states .... " If there should stand up in your midst a prophet or a dreamer of a dream, and he will produce to you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes about, of which he spoke to you, saying, "Let us follow gds of others that you did not know and we shall worship them!" ~ do not hearken to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of a dream, for Ha'Shem, your G*d is testing you to know whether you love Ha'Shem, your G*d, with all your heart and with all your soul. "


Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Gilad !!!

 

Happy 25th Birthday,  Sgt. Gilad Shalit ........ 1,888 Days in Hamas Captivity.  Detained in a Dungeon,  May this be your last Birthday in Captivity,  Be'Zereth Ha'Shem !!!!
There are 1.5 million people living in Gaza & only one of them really needs humanitarian aid. Only one of them is locked in a tiny room & never sees the light of day, only one of them is not allowed visits, even from the Red Cross & is in uncertain health.  His name is Gilad Shalit, & over 5 YEARS have passed since he was kidnapped. 

Five years ago, a Jewish son was taken from his parents. The Hamas terror organization kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit during an incursion from Gaza into Israel. His captors have denied access to him by the Red Cross in complete violation of the Geneva Convention. For five years a merciless enemy has held captive a young man, a soldier. While Gilad Shalit has become a symbol, there has been no Rescue attempt and only a series of stalled negotiations.

Hamas are being strengthened by the International media & their campaigns, because the media blame Israel, and not Hamas Arab terrorists who continue his incarceration and are the guilty ones. Gilad Shalit is not a negotiating tool to be bargained off in a numbers game with Hamas, which they have tried to turn on & off for the last five years ~ NOT ONE Hamas murderer should be released in a trade off for the freeing of Gilad Shalit.   In fact it is thought that last week's slayings near Eilat were a botched kidnap attempt to add another 'kidnapee' to Gilad's number.  

Having said that I am TOTALLY for Gilad being freed NOW. Not one day more in Captivity, five years is too long. One day more is too much. But, I dont believe in a negotiated exchange.

Different tactics now need to be tried. Like turning off the electric supply to Gaza.  Like turning off the water supply. It is supplied by Israel. Like enforcing a total embargo by land and by sea. Nothing goes in, nothing goes out. By shutting down the Temple Mount to Arabs. By putting the PA hierarchy in Ramallah under seige. By assassinating the Hamas leadership, one after the next after the next. Same with convicted Arab prisoners held in Israeli jails. By returning Israeli's to their surrendered homes in Gush Katif and other sites in Gaza. By using the combined forces of the IDF & IDA to go get Gilad. Oh! Yes. There's lots of ways to get Gilad back without releasing 1000 terrorists.

Why are 'palestinian' supplies allowed in to Gaza? Why are "ambulances" allowed out?  How many more Birthdays must Gilad spend in Captvity??

Gilad .... WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN YOU ..... Yom Huledet Same'ach !!!!!!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Terezin the Terrible!!

Cremation Oven ~ Terezin

To the Dead ....

"A grave among graves, who can tell it apart,
time has long swept away the dead faces.
Testimonies, so evil and terrible to the heart,
we took with us to these dark rotting places.

Only the night and the howl of the wind
will sit on the graves' corners,
only a patch of grass, a bitter weed
before May bears some flowers..."


Jaroslav Seifert ~ Written in Terezin!!

This camp, although indeed Terrible,  was not a 'Death Camp' like Auschwicz or Treblinka. During World War II the Gestapo used Terezin, better known by the German name Theresienstadt, as a Concentration Camp. To incarcerate a concentration of Prisoners ~ Jews!  Especially Jewish Children!

The majority of the Jews sent there were scholars, professionals, artists and musicians. Inmates were encouraged to lead 'Creative'  lives, and Concerts were even held. Within the camp, parks, grassy areas and flower beds, concert venues and statues were installed to hide the truth ~ The Truth that  most of the inmates were going to be Murdered. This was all part of a Nazi plot to deceive International Red Cross inspectors into believing that Jews were being treated humanely. And Terezin was photographed as a 'Model Camp' & declared 'humane' by the Red Cross in 1944!!

This façade masked the fact that of the 144,000 Jews sent there, about 33,000 died, mostly because of the appalling conditions (hunger, stress, punishment, disease, and an epidemic of typhus at the very end of the war). About 88,000 were deported onwards to Auschwitz and other extermination camps. Terezin was liberated on May 9th, 1945 by the Soviet Army. At the time of it's liberation there were 17,247 survivors....

Of  the 15,000 children sent to Terezin,  just 132 survived.  My Mom (Of Blessed Memory) was one of those who survived Terezin the Terrible!!

"When a new child comes
Everything seems strange to him.
What, on the ground I have to lie?
Eat black potatoes? No! Not I!
I've got to stay? It's dirty here!
The floor ~ why, look, it's dirt, I fear!
And I'm supposed to sleep on it?
I'll get all dirty!
Here the sound of shouting, cries,
And oh, so many flies.
Everyone knows flies carry disease.
Oooh, something bit me!
Wasn't that a bedbug?
Here in Terezin, life is hell
And when I'll go home again, I can't yet tell."
 
(Written by a Terezin Child,  we don't know who)


I do have an album of pictures of Terezin, located North of Prague in the Czech Republic.  I will do a Pictorial Memorial some day this week!!




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Golden Calf!!

 
 A Guest Blogger today .... My Friend,  Heshy Rosenwasser.    An Accomplished writer, who has served in the IDF, performed in numerous Jersey Shore and New York area bands,  has written and edited for newspapers, publishers,  and currently for the Jewish Voice.  He blogs at http://about.me/TheHeshInc
 
(And I endorse his Analysis Ten Trillion percent !!!!)

However, as much as we recognize the need to show hakarat hatov (proper appreciation) for Glenn Beck’s work in generating support for Israel, the unquestioning zeal exhibited by many of his Jewish supporters raises a red flag that needs to be addressed ......

The people and state of Israel, and the Jewish community around the world, are mesmerized by the appearance of television commentator Glenn Beck in Jerusalem, both for his address to the Knesset and for his ‘Restoring Courage’ rally near the Temple Mount. Love him or hate him ~ it is impossible to avoid him!

Beck has been given the red-carpet treatment by Knesset member Danny Danon, who showed him around the country and invited him to speak before the Knesset’s Immigration and Absorption Committee. Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger has gone so far as blessing Beck’s rally.

Have we gone mad?

We have been beaten upside the head by years upon years of negative media punditry, often akin to blood libels ~ not to mention boycotts, divestments, sanctions, solidarity movements, ‘apartheid’ walls, flotillas, flytillas, UN resolutions, nuclear threats, and good-old-fashioned wars and terrorism ~ that we have become slap-happy and punch-drunk. Any voice in the wilderness sounding a note of support to us comes as a breath of fresh air, and we welcome it with such ardour that we are willing to overlook potential faults and pitfalls .... namely, that his seemingly pure and good-hearted motives just barely conceal political agendas and religious ideologies that ought to give Jews much pause.

This has happened before.   After the bloody massacres perpetrated against the Jewish people by the Cossack Chmielnicki,  Messiah came. So many Jews had prayed for the arrival of the promised saviour that they were willing to accept Shabbetai Tzvi, despite his glaring inconsistencies and violations of Jewish tradition. And Martin Luther started his anti-Catholic Church career by publishing a screed that was on its surface friendly and sympathetic to the Jews, in the hopes that the Jews would convert to his new religion, the as-yet-undefined Protestantism. The outcome is well known: We did not convert, and Luther turned his full vehemence on us. The Jews of Germany during the Reformation played on Luther’s name, transliterating into Hebrew ~ Lo-Tahor ~ not clean. After such experiences, we Jews have earned the right to be more than a little suspicious.

First and foremost, Beck is an ENTERTAINER!!!! 

Make no mistake about it ~ as a TV host, an entertainer is ALL he is. He is not an elected official in any government. He is not an ordained clergyman of any faith. He represents nobody but himself, and perhaps the media conglomerates that employ him.

So the question must be posed ..... What in the world is a media figure doing addressing a legislative body? Has Oprah Winfrey ever addressed a joint session of Congress? How about Rush Limbaugh? Dennis Prager? Michael Savage?  Or even, for the liberally inclined, pre-Congressional Al Franken?  Anybody?

It is particularly galling that Beck, a non-Jewish entertainer, is given the Knesset podium as a bully pulpit when REAL Jewish teachers of REAL Torah ~ Rabbi Dov Lior and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, son of Sephardic elder sage Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ~ are arrested and thrown into jail. Have we resorted to defaming and imprisoning our rabbis, figures who ought to be respected and revered even if we disagree with their teachings, while deciding to take direction from a foreign entertainer just because he happens to make some noises in our favour?

And now that Beck has spoken before the Knesset and is given the green light in the staging of his ‘Courage’ rally, he believes he has earned the right to pontificate about all matters Israeli. Specifically, he has called the current ‘tent city’ protests in Tel Aviv and other locations the doing of ‘communists,’ calling into question the financing of these protests and suggesting a sinister connection between the protesters in Israel and world socialism ..... framing the whole matter in the context of the sort of anarchists who protest G-8 meetings, and squeezing the square peg of what should be an internal Israeli matter into the round hole of his us-and-them, liberal-versus-conservative worldview. Let him go on back to where he came from and stick to things he might actually know a thing or two about, and let Jews and Israelis handle Jewish and Israeli matters!!

The way so many Jews fawn on Glenn Beck is Appalling, regardless of how pro-Israel he positions himself. Equally disgusting is the knee-jerk manner in which Beck supporters (Jewish or otherwise) condemn anyone who dares dissent as a ‘liberal.’

Well, this avowedly nonliberal editor dares to dissent ..... on Jewish grounds!!!!

We are believers, the children of believers, and although we have no one to lean on other than Ha'Shem in Heaven, even believing Jews who ought to know better have found something less than Divine to believe in. We have made for ourselves nothing short of a new golden calf, substituting it for our holy Torah and the voices of those who teach it. There are seventy faces to the Torah, as our sages teach, but we seem to insist on adding a 71st from outside the fold.

And even if Beck were 100% sincere, without any hidden agendas, we would still be very wise to heed the words of King David , in Tehillim 146, 3-4, read by devout Jews every morning .... “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goes forth, he returns to his dust; in that very day his thoughts perish.”

Glenn Beck is a charismatic figure, a consummate actor and a master manipulator.  Please bear this in mind as you watch this video!!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Jewels of Jerusalem .... A Love Story for Tu B'Av !!!




Said Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel ..... There were no greater festivals for Israel than the 15th of Av and Yom KippurOn these days the daughters of Jerusalem would go out... and dance in the vineyards. And what would they say? "Young man, raise your eyes and see which you select for yourself...."   

And so it is written,  "Go out, daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon,   in the crown with which his mother crowned him on his wedding day and on the day of his heart's rejoicing" (Song of Songs 3:11). "His wedding day" ~  this is the Giving of the Torah.  "the day of his heart's rejoicing" ~ this is the building of the Holy Temple, which shall be rebuilt speedily in our days.
Talmud, Taanit 26b


 The Talmud goes on to list several joyous events which occurred on the 15th day of the month of Av .... 

1) The dying of the generation of the Exodus ceased. 
Several months after the people of Israel were freed from Egyptian slavery, the incident of the "Spies" demonstrated their unpreparedness for the task of conquering the land of Canaan and developing it as the "Holy Land."   Ha'Shem decreed that that entire generation would die out in the desert, and that their children would enter the land in their stead (as recounted in Bamidbar 13 and 14). After 40 years of wandering through the wilderness, the dying finally ended, and a new generation of Jews stood ready to enter Eretz Yisrael.  It was the 15th day of Av of the year 2487 from creation (1274 BCE).    As long as members of this doomed generation were still alive, Ha'Shem didn't communicate with Moshe. As soon as the last of these men died, once again Ha'Shem lovingly communicated with Moshe. 

2) The tribes of Israel were permitted to intermarry. 
In order to ensure the orderly division of the Holy Land between the twelve tribes of Israel, restrictions had been placed on marriages between members of two different tribes. A woman who had inherited tribal lands from her father was forbidden to marry out of her tribe, lest her children ~ members of their father's tribe ~ cause the transfer of land from one tribe to another by inheriting her estate (as recounted in Bamidbar 36). This ordinance was binding on the generation that conquered and settled the Holy Land; when the restriction was lifted, on the 15th of Av, the event was considered a cause for celebration and festivity.

3) The tribe of Benjamin was permitted to enter the community. 
Av 15th  was also the day on which the tribe of Benjamin, which had been excommunicated for its behaviour in the incident of the "Concubine at Givah," was readmitted into the community of Israel (as related in Shoftim 19-21 ...  this occurred during the judgeship of Othniel ben Knaz, who led the people of Israel in the years 2533-2573 from creation (1228-1188 BCE)).

4) Hosea ben Eilah opened the roads to Jerusalem
Upon the division of the Holy Land into two kingdoms following the death of King Solomon in the year 2964 from creation (797 BCE), Jeroboam ben Nebat, ruler of the breakaway Northern Kingdom of Israel, set up roadblocks to prevent his citizens from making the thrice-yearly pilgrimage to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, capital of the Southern Kingdom of Judea. These were finally removed more than 200 years later by Hosea ben Eilah, the last king of the Northern Kingdom, on Av 15, 3187 (574 BCE).

5) The dead of Betar were allowed to be buried
The fortress of Betar was the last holdout of the Bar Kochba rebellion. When Betar fell on the 9th of Av, 3893 (133 CE), Bar Kochba and many thousands of Jews were killed.  The Romans massacred the survivors of the battle with great cruelty and would not even allow the Jews to bury their dead. When the dead of Betar were finally brought to burial on Av 15th, 3908 (148 CE), an additional blessing (HaTov VehaMeitiv) was added to the "Grace After Meals" in commemoration.

6) "The day of the breaking of the axe." 
When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, the annual cutting of firewood for the altar was concluded on the 15th of Av. The event was celebrated with feasting and rejoicing (as is the custom upon the conclusion of a holy endeavor) and included a ceremonial breaking of the axes which gave the day its name.

This is a direct counterpoise to the 5 Tragedies which befell Am Yisrael on Tisha B'Av ~ the 9th day of Av!

It is no coincidence that Yom Kippur and the 15th of Av served as occasions for matchmaking for the young men and women of Jerusalem:.  These two days are the respective betrothal and marriage dates of Ha'Shem and Israel. Yom Kippur ~ the day on which the Second Tablets of Torah were given to Moshe, marking the fulfillment of the covenant at Mount Sinai ~ is the day of Israel's betrothal to Ha'Shem.   Av 15 ~  the day that represents the rebirth which follows the great fall of the Temple's destruction on the 9th of Av  ~ celebrates the ultimate consummation of our marriage with the final redemption of Moshiach.  When He comes!

From the writings of  the Lubavitcher Rebbe .....

After relating how "the daughters of Jerusalem would go out ... and dance in the vineyards"    and "whoever did not have a wife would go there"  to find himself a bride,  the Talmud goes on to describe three different categories of "daughters" and how each would call out to her perspective bridegroom ....
What would the beautiful ones among them say? "Look for beauty, for a woman is for beauty."
What would those of prestigious lineage say? "Look for family, for a woman is for children."
What would the ugly ones say? "Make your acquisition for the sake of Heaven, as long as you decorate us with jewels" (Talmud, Taanit 31a).
The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the marriage of Ha'Shem and His people also includes these three categories of "brides": ..... the souls of Israel include "beautiful" souls, souls "of prestigious lineage," and "ugly" souls,  each of whom contribute their own unique dimension to our relationship with Ha'Shem.


There are two types of love, say the Chassidic masters. There is a love that is generated by the person's own mind and heart, when she meditates on the greatness and desirability of a person (or thing, or state) and thereby develops feelings of love and attraction to him/her/it. Then there is an inborn love: .... a love that a person has not created himself  ~  indeed, he may be unaware that he possesses it ~ but which resides in his heart from birth, a natural bond and attraction to something that is implanted in his soul by virtue of who and what he is.

"You shall love Ha'Shem" (Devarim 6:5) is a crucial component of our relationship with the Almighty. Aside from the fact that loving Ha'Shem is itself a Mitzvah, it is also a pre-requisite for the proper observance of all the Mitzvot. As Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi elaborates in his Tanya, Mitzvot which are not motivated by a love of Ha'Shem are performed mechanically and erratically.  Only one who loves Ha;Sgem serves Him in a manner that is both integral and enduring.

 By studying what Ha'Shem has revealed about Himself to us in His Torah, and contemplating and meditating upon these truths, one develops a feeling of love toward Him ....  a desire to approach His great and magnificent being, to unite and become one with it. Indeed, this is one of the primary functions of  human davening, "the service of the heart".  To generate a feeling of love for the Creator by meditating on His greatness and majesty.

But also the person who does not succeed in creating a "self-generated" love by these means can attain a love of Ha'Shem, by resorting to the inborn love for Him we each possess as "an inheritance from our forefathers."   Abraham, the first Jew, was the very embodiment of divine love ("Abraham, who loves Me," in Ha'Shems words .... ), and Ha'Shem rewarded him with the gift of "fatherhood" ~ the ability to bequeath this love to his descendants. So each and every Jew has Abraham's love of Ha'Shem encoded in his spiritual genes. As with all inborn characteristics, this love may be buried in the subconscious, stifled by the dross of material life ... but it can always be wakened and called upon to stimulate and vitalize our observance of the mitzvot.

The advantages of the second type of love are obvious. Every Jew possesses it ~ and the ability to realize it ~ regardless of the extent of his cognitive and meditative skills or his spiritual sensitivity. Furthermore, a self-generated love will always be limited by the finite capacities of the mind and heart which have created it, and will fluctuate in accordance with the person's mental and emotional state at any given moment; our inborn love, being divinely granted, is infinite and unequivocal.

But there are advantages to self-generated love as well. Though lesser in essence and scope, it is more keenly felt, more exuberantly experienced. For such is our nature ....  what we create is more precious to us than the most valuable endowment, what we conceive of ourselves is somehow more relevant and real than what is learned from the greatest master. So although the stimulation of our inherited love for Ha'Shem would suffice to drive our observance of the mitzvot, we should nevertheless strive to enhance our relationship with Him with the ecstasy and passion that only a love created by our own faculties and initiative can bring. In the words of our sages, "Although a fire came down [on the Altar] from the heavens, it is imperative to also kindle a man-made fire."

Therein lies the deeper significance of the Talmud's description of how "the beautiful ones,"those of prestigious lineage" and "the ugly ones" among the daughters of Jerusalem conducted their courtship dance in the vineyards on Av 15th. "
 
The dancing maidens of Jerusalem calling out their virtues to their prospective bridegrooms echo the call of the souls of Israel to their Divine Groom. Among these are the beautiful souls, those who have achieved a best-of-both-worlds perfection in their love of the Almighty: a passionate, self-generated love set upon the immutable foundation of inherited love. "A woman is for beauty," call these souls to Ha'Shem take us as your bride, and You will be rewarded by the pleasure You derive when Your creations realize the potential for perfection You have invested in them.

Then there are the souls of "prestigious lineage." We cannot offer you the flawless beauty of our perfect sisters ~ they call to Ha'Shem ~ but we have unearthed the hereditary love You have implanted in us. "A woman is for children": our relationship might not, as of yet, yield beauty, but it will bear fruit ~ the mitzvot generated by our natural love for You. (In the words of the Midrash Pesikta Zutrati on Bereshit 6:9   "The offspring of the righteous are good deeds.") For is not Your ultimate purpose in creation that Your creations fulfill your will? Our love for you might not excite our senses and illuminate our lives, but we offer You the rewards of family ~ the good deeds that are the tangible, enduring offspring of Israel's commitment to her Creator.

And the ugly ones? Those who have neither roused their minds and hearts to desire their Creator, nor wakened their hereditary loyalty to Him? Those who never generated a self-created love and whose inborn love lies dormant under a squalid veneer of apathy and iniquity? They cry: "Make Your acquisition for the sake of Heaven!"

"Do for Your sake, if not for ours," call the "ugly" souls of Israel. Take us as Your own, despite our appearance, because only You know what lies behind our appearance, and only You know the truth of what You can inspire in us. For You know that, in truth, "The daughters of Israel are beautiful, it is only that poverty obscures their beauty." You know that our "ugliness" is not our true essence, but imposed upon us by the spiritual poverty of galut.

If we have failed to realize our potential for beauty and fruitfulness, then it is left to You to "decorate us with jewels"  to shower us with the gifts that will waken our quintessential bond to You and bring to light our innate perfection.

This is why the maidens dance on the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur.  And of the two, the 15th of Av is the more joyous one .... for it symbolizes the ultimate marriage.   Of all Jewish holidays, none equal the joy of the 15th of Av. 

And tonight, the Jewels of Jerusalem will Dance !!!!!



Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Story of Survival .....




Leon Weinstein survived the Warsaw Ghetto. Surely a Shoah Story with enormous worth itself.  But it is the story of the little girl in the ID card above that he wanted to tell .... and he did last Shabbat to the Los Angeles Times (local edition).  Thanks to my friend Kathy Thomas who saved the story for me & my blog!

The little girl was Jewish, but to live she needed a 'Christian' name.   She could not be Natalie Leya Weinstein, not in wartime Warsaw. Her father wrote her new name on a piece of paper.....   Natalie Yazinska!!!

Her mother, Sima, sobbed.  "The little one must make it," Leon Weinstein told his wife. "We got no chance. But the little one, she is special. She must survive."

He fixed a metal crucifix to a necklace and hung it on their daughter. On the paper, he scrawled another fiction ..... "I am a war widow, and I have no way of taking care of her. I beg of you good people, please take care of her. In the name of Jesus Christ, he will take care of you for this."

 A cold wind cut at the skin that December morning, so Leon Weinstein bundled Natalie, 18 months old, in heavy trousers (pants)  and a thick wool sweater.  He headed for a nearby apartment, the home of a lawyer and his wife. The couple did not have a child. Weinstein hoped they wanted one.  He lay Natalie on their front step. Tears ran down his cheeks. You will make it, he thought. She had blond locks and blue eyes. They will think you are a Gentile, not one of us.  Walking away, he could hear her whimper, but forced himself not to look back until he crossed the street. Then he turned and saw a man step out of the apartment. The man read Weinstein's note. He puzzled over the baby.

Cradling Natalie in his arms, the man walked half a block to a police station and disappeared inside. Weinstein was beside himself.  What if the Gestapo took her from the police?  What if they decided that she was a Jew?

Today, at his small Spanish-style home in Mid-City, Weinstein, now aged 101, recalls in agonizing detail what it was like to give up his baby in 1941 amid the Nazi juggernaut. He is frail, but his wit and memory are keen. He remembers well what followed: killing Germans, dodging death, hunting for Natalie.    Holocaust scholars vouch for his account, calling him one of the last living fighters from the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, almost certainly the oldest.  For years, Weinstein kept his memories buried.  

No more!!!!




 

It is important to tell about Nazi horrors, he now says, so they are never forgotten. It is, he says, important to tell the story of his search for his little girl. 

Weinstein was born in the Jewish village of Radzymin, Poland.  As a child, he was independent, even stubborn. His family adhered to Orthodox Judaism, but he never fully believed. He defied his elders and grew into something of a tough guy. Eyes gleaming, he recalls those who called him a "dirty Jew."

"They'd meet my fists,"   he says. "Then they'd be picking their teeth from the ground."
By 15, he had run away from home and was living in Warsaw, where he worked as a tailor's assistant, then for a clothing company. In his 20s, he married Sima. After Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, they were forced to live in Radzymin with other Jews.   Natalie was born the next year.  When she was a year old, Weinstein heard a Nazi guard say that German troops would soon send everyone in   Radzymin to a death camp.  He prepared to flee and begged his extended family to leave too. They refused, saying Germans would never do such a thing.  (My own family, guilty of the same were almost wiped out of history!).


But Weinstein had seen Nazi cruelty first-hand. So he slipped away, with his wife and daughter, into the nearby forest. It was far from a haven .... anti-Semitic Polish thugs roamed there.  Using forged papers that identified him as a Christian, Weinstein and his family headed to Warsaw. They hoped that the sprawling capital would be a good hiding place. Sima

A Polish couple promised to hide Sima, but Weinstein and the baby would draw too much attention. They decided to leave Natalie on the lawyer's doorstep. Weinstein would head for the confines of the Warsaw Ghetto, where fellow Jews would give him shelter.

"This was a place completely unimaginable,"
   Weinstein  says. "A place worse even than the hell that Dante described."

The ghetto was surrounded by an 11-foot-high brick wall, barbed wire and guards. More than 400,000 Jews had been forced inside the 3.5-square-mile area. By early 1943,  an estimated 300,000 of them had been shipped to Treblinka, a death camp in northeast Poland.  Nazis rationed food for those who remained and many died of starvation. Disease killed thousands more. Weinstein feared constantly for Natalie and Sima and was certain he would die.  He joined the ghetto resistance. 
had no papers ... if the Nazis caught her, all three might be killed.

"If we were going to die,"   Weinstein says,   "we would do it on our own terms. We would die standing proud, on our feet, making a statement to the world. We would take as many of those bastards as we could kill."


 

He helped organize and train resistance fighters. On occasion, using his forged papers, he talked his way out of the ghetto and smuggled weapons back inside.  On April 19th, 1943, the first night of Passover, the Nazis began their final push to wipe out the ghetto. When German tanks rolled forward, Jewish fighters appeared at windows, on rooftops, along street corners. They hurled grenades, Molotov cocktails, bricks and rocks. Weinstein ran along rooftops in a fury, strafing Nazis with a machine gun.  The resistance held, but only for a while.


"When could I have been killed?"  Weinstein says.  "Every five minutes."   He says it again, pausing between each word. "Every…five…minutes."

One day he was crouched on the second floor of an abandoned building when he heard the footsteps of Nazi troops on the stairs.  It's over, he told himself.  He looked out a window. A solitary soldier stood guard below.

Weinstein leaped. His steel-toed boots slammed into the soldier's head. "He fell like a sack of stones,"Weinstein says. "I could see his skull, his blood, brains. For killing a man who hunted me, I felt nothing but good ~ and I was so excited I felt no pain.


 "I was alive at least for another day."

Weinstein hid in sewers that swarmed with rats and human waste. He eventually found a way out that seemed safe, but was too weak to lift the iron cover.   Was this how he would die?

He fell asleep and dreamed of his grandfather, a deeply religious man. " 'You must keep going,'"   his grandfather told him. "'You must. Don't stop.'"

Weinstein awoke with new energy. He hunched his back against the manhole cover, gathered all of his strength and pushed. It opened.  In the early morning darkness, he hunted for someone who would shelter a fleeing Jew who stank of sewage and looked as though he might collapse and die.  A Warsaw couple he had known before the war took him in.  Weinstein asked after his relatives who had stayed behind in Radzymin. All were dead. He looked for Sima. He learned she was dead too. 


By spring 1945, the war was over, and surviving Jews began to leave the country. Weinstein was not among them. He had to find Natalie.  His first stop was the street where he'd left his little girl. It was mostly rubble, but one building stood untouched ~ the police station!!

He walked in. "Do you remember hearing about an abandoned girl who was taken here?"

One officer did. The girl had been taken to a nearby convent.  The nuns there remembered, too. The baby was among several they tried to shelter. Disease claimed some, but the baby named Natalie survived. When the fighting drew near, she was sent to a cloister in the countryside.  Over bombed-out roads, pedaling hard on his bicycle, Weinstein made his way there. But Natalie was gone, sent to another group of nuns. On he went, to convent after convent, sometimes sleeping in fields.  The story was the same. Natalie had been there, but nobody knew where she was now. Nobody knew if she was alive.

After six months, Weinstein returned to the city, exhausted.

Then, against all hope, he decided to visit a convent near the Ghetto. He walked past a statue of the Mary Idol entity, then into a hall where dozens of pale, thin orphans stood.  "Mister, mister."  They grabbed at his tall, brown boots. "Mister, mister, take me, take me."

As he drew away, frustrated, a nun walked past, carrying a bony, blond girl, who looked about 4. He looked into the child's eyes. They were blue.  This, he said, was Natalie.

"She is yours?"   the nun asked. "How can we know?"

"If she is,"   Weinstein said,   "then she has a little brown birthmark, the size of a pencil eraser, just near her right hip."

The nun lifted the girl's dirty gray shirt and they looked.  He had found Natalie.




Weinstein and Natalie moved to France.  In time, he married Sophie, another Shoah survivor and they had a son,  Michael.  In 1952, the family took a ship to New York, then a train to L.A., where Weinstein became a successful clothing manufacturer.  In 1993, Michael died in a car accident. Twelve years later, Sophie died of heart disease.  Weinstein remains full of life. He recites the Torah at Congregation Atzei Chaim, the Beverly Grove Synagogue he has attended for seven decades.  He reads three newspapers and sips at least one glass of Chivas Regal, on the rocks, every day. 

So what of Leon Weinstein .... what is his story????

Leon Weinstein was born in 1910 into a large,  extended family of Hassidic Jews who had lived in Poland for many generations. He married his childhood sweetheart, Sima, in 1939, and they gave birth to a daughter, Natalie, in 1940, as their town of  Radzmin in Poland was becoming a ghetto.   Leon has an inspiring story of survival, yet suffered as many did with the loss of many family members.   Leon worked with the resistance smuggling arms into the Warsaw Ghetto.   And, Leon survived the Warsaw Uprising, Baruch Ha'Shem !!

Leon was instrumental in the rescue of countless Jews and the repossession of 13 sefer Torahs, stolen from the synagogue during the War Years.   The loss of his entire family set Leon on a lifelong quest of restoring the religious and warm communal life into which he was born. Continuous membership in a Synagogue, support for Israel,  and The “1939″ Club has helped to fulfill that quest. Leon and Sophie were members of the 1939 Club for over 50 years.  And Leon continues to live life to the fullest ... even in his 102nd year. 

 He rarely goes more than two waking hours without telephoning the woman who fusses over him, who tends to his every need. She is a psychologist known by her married name  ....  Natalie Gold Lumer.

Every Friday night, father and daughter share a Shabbat meal. They gather with family and friends, light candles, hold hands, tell stories and offer lengthy prayers of thanks.  "It was terrible, what I went through," Weinstein said at a dinner not long ago. "But it was worth what I came away with: my beautiful daughter."   Natalie looked at him, shaking her head. There was a long silence. 

"To have a father with such courage," she said, finally. "Well, I owe everything to him....I owe him my life."

 Watch the Video below ... it is a touching tale!!

video

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dare to Dream .... A Love Story for Tisha B'Av !!



Today is Tisha B'Av .... A day of Tears & Lamentations for Jewish losses,  the Saddest Day of the Jewish year.  It follows an intense three week period of mourning & is a day of Fasting & Mourning for all of  the Tragedies that have befallen us on 9th day of Av,  most especially the Destruction of our Temple in Jerusalem.  Twice!!  

On that same date that the spies returned and spoke evil about the Land of Israel, the First Temple was destroyed. It was on that same day, the ninth of Av, that the Second Temple was also destroyed. On the ninth of Av, the Romans destroyed Betar and massacred thousands of Jews. As the prophet Yirmiyahu predicted, Jerusalem was ploughed over ~ All on the ninth of Av!

On the 9th of Av 1492,  the Jews were expelled from Spain. On the 9th of Av 1914 ~ The First World War began. The insubstantial peace that concluded this war was one of the causes of the Second World War and the Slide to the Shoah,  in which the six million Jews perished. The 9th of Av 1942 ~ The first killings started at Treblinka.  

As Tisha B'Av remembers Tragedy ... it looks forward to Joy too.  It is on this date of 9th Av that Moshiach will be born & we are told that those who weep with Jerusalem in it's Sorrows will be there for to share it's joys ..... Hazorim b'Dimah, b'Rina Yiktzoru!!!

I am reprinting this "Love Story" from 'The Jewish Woman'  by Samantha Barnett  of Los Angeles, California.  My previous home.

"I grew up dreaming about my Prince Charming, besotted with the idea of “love” as I understood it. I knew my grandmother had been married by the age of nineteen to a man who absolutely adored her, and their love was a lasting one.  On Sundays, my grandfather used to take my grandmother and me out for ice cream. The two of them would share a cone and smile at each other. I remember the way he looked at her and the way she returned his gaze. To him, she was clearly the most beautiful woman alive, and I could tell by his expression that he felt lucky to be married to her. As they passed the ice cream cone back and forth, I knew my grandmother felt cherished and protected by my grandfather. Even after so many years of marriage, their love seemed fresh and new.

 From watching my grandparents interact, love seemed easy. I developed the conviction that love was easily attainable, and I became consumed with the idea of romance. I read romantic novels, watched romantic movies and dreamed romantic dreams. One thing was certain: if love was involved, I was hooked.

But as I grew up, I began to see problems in the world of love. I watched people compromising themselves for romances that were obviously temporary. I saw momentary pleasure taking the place of true intimacy. I met children and adults who had been thoroughly hurt by their parents’ bad marriages. I watched couples separate after years of dating because they knew they could never marry each other, and that left me perplexed because I had always assumed that marriage was the goal of dating. I found it ironic that in a world obsessed with analyzing and discussing others’ relationships, it has become tough to find good relationship role models.

And I wondered: is the romance of my grandparents’ generation already an ancient phenomenon? Does my generation, witnessing skyrocketing divorce rates and illicit affairs plastered across the media, even believe that true love is possible? Do we realize what we are missing?


The Jewish nation is likened to a bride. We found “Mr. Right” in Ha'Shem,  but through our actions we grew apart from Him. Consequently, we lost the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, our strongest connection to Him. We have become used to life without a Temple, and to us it seems normal, but it is not. We are missing out on a deep, soulful relationship with Ha'Shem, and that is something to cry about.  In fact, we have a designated day to grieve over this loss: Tisha B’Av ~ the ninth day of the month of Av. Perhaps, if we take a closer look at this day of fasting and commemoration, we’ll better understand how to fix and maintain the important relationships in our lives.

After the Jewish people escaped from Egypt, we needed a homeland. Ha'Shem promised us the land of Israel, and we began to journey through the desert in the direction of the Holy Land. But before we were to enter the land, the people approached Moshe and requested he send ahead a group of men to scout out the layout of the land and its inhabitants, so that they could strategize how to conquer this new and foreign country. Moshe agreed, and assigned spiritual leaders from each of the twelve tribes to act as spies. When they returned, the entire nation assembled to hear their reports. Ten of the leaders publicly pointed out why the Jewish people would not be successful in acquiring the Land. Their words planted seeds of doubt in the minds of the Jewish people, and some began to wonder if they might have done better to remain in slavery in Egypt. That night the Jewish people cried, afraid of the land and afraid of its inhabitants. This night of sadness took place on the ninth of Av, a day which has become synonymous with tragedy and mourning. The sin of the spies is considered the source of all the other tragedies which would occur on Tisha B’Av in later years.

The reason the sin of the spies was considered so grave was because the Jewish people lost faith in Ha'Shem so quickly, when they had just been privy to open revelations of G‑dliness. He performed miracle after miracle ....  He bombarded the evil Egyptians with plagues, split the Red Sea, and revealed Himself at Mount Sinai. But still, we lost faith in Him.  The cornerstone of any relationship is trust. Without trust in Ha'shem, we ultimately have permanently damaged our relationship with Him.

The deeper reason the Jews in the desert cried upon hearing the spies’ report was a desire to remain close to Ha'Shem. Life was good in the desert. Miracles happened on a daily basis. The Jewish people knew that entering Israel would involve returning to reality, toiling on the land instead of receiving manna from Heaven, thus having less time to spend studying the Torah.


But what we failed to understand is that entering the Land would enable us to live in the ultimate reality. Ha'Shem wants us to live in this physical world and use its very physicality for spiritual purposes. Our mission in the world is to infuse our surroundings with spirituality and G‑dliness. The spiritual vortex of the world is Israel, Jerusalem in particular, and specifically the Holy Temple. The ultimate relationship connects the physical and spiritual worlds, enhancing each of them. Unfortunately, the Jews in the desert didn’t realize that entering the Land of Israel would have accomplished that, creating a better reality than they had in the desert.  I once asked a rabbi why the Western Wall is so important to the Jewish people. Shouldn’t our holiest site be Mount Sinai? After all, Mount Sinai is the mountain where Ha'Shem spoke to Moshe and gave him the Torah. It is there that each and every Jew heard first hand the voice of the Almighty. Yet this mountain is not considered the holiest place for a Jew. That title is reserved for the place where the Holy Temple stood.

 The mission of a Jewish person is to take physical matter and make it holy. In the desert and at Mount Sinai, Ha'Shem spoke to us, and that was incredible!   But we were like infants being fed by our mother; we were not yet partners with the Almighty.  The Temple site is so holy because there we built a home for G‑d out of our own blood, sweat and raw materials. It is the place where we worked together with the Almighty to bring His presence down to earth, thus infusing the physical matter with holiness. Holiness with Ha'Shem is a more mature relationship than we had at Mount Sinai. It is a love affair. It takes two to make it work.

The Jews in the desert were being noncommittal. They had the ultimate romance with G‑d, who granted them constant miracles. We had found our perfect match, and yet we were scared to move on to the next stage of the relationship. Our greatest flaw was that we did not want to grow. We wanted the overwhelming passion of new love, and were afraid to move into an unknown future. 

The romantic stage of a relationship is indeed wonderful, but it doesn’t last, because romance is not true love. True love is based in reality. It is when we share the mundane experiences of life with our partner that we learn to truly love. Our shared moments and growth are our most intimate, and our partnership makes the world a better place.  A good relationship is not about lust, attraction or “me.” A strong relationship is borne when both partners focus on giving, and exploring what’s special about “us.” The ultimate partnership is between two people who can “build” with each other. Ha'Shem, too, wants to partner with us in building. The Temple can stand only as long as we keep building it through nurturing our relationship to the divine.

Relationship breakups are tough. Whenever a relationship dissolves in books or movies, the woman ends up sitting on a couch and eating ice cream to “get over” her partner. But, we observe Tisha B’Av because we can never “get over” the relationship we have lost with Ha'Shem.   This relationship is not disposable. It is irreplaceable!!

And yet, we cry. We cry because we know He wants a relationship with us, but we messed up. We cry because the home that we built with Ha'Shem is destroyed, and we want to build it with Him again. We cry because, even 2,000 years after our falling out, we still crave His love and yearn to be as in love with Him as He is with us.

Most importantly, we don’t cry because we feel hopeless. We cry to change ourselves. We cry because through tears we hope to grow. This world was created for us to connect with Ha'Shem and we must cultivate our inner longing to unite with Him. Our relationships with each other are a taste of this divine relationship. With that in mind, how could we not direct every effort into developing and cultivating them? How can we settle for anything less?

Sometimes it can be difficult for us to relate to the loss of a Temple we never knew and a relationship with G‑d we never experienced ....  We don’t even know anyone who has known it!

But if we recognize the loss of the Temple as the loss of our greatest relationship, perhaps we can relate a bit more deeply. We’ve missed 2,000 years of anniversaries.  We have the chance to be the couple who emanates love. The pair whom people stop to ask: “What’s your secret?” We have the chance to be the light unto the nations ~ but we can’t do it without partnering with the ultimate source of the light."