Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tisha Ba'av

It's Tisha Ba'av, the yearly fast day commemorating the destruction of both first and second temples.

Our synagogue is one of several that walks to the Haas Promenade in order to start the commemoration service, which includes reading Eicha (the book of Lamentations). The promenade overlooks a beautiful valley as well as the old city of Jerusalem, with the golden dome planted on top of where the temple once stood (I think it's a lovely dome, I just wish it were a mile over to the right).

We read our books with special cantillation notes, using different melodies for different books. The torah gets one set of notes, the haphtorah another. Additional melodies are used for high holiday readings, the book of Esther, and the three other "megillot" (Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Ruth).

Of all of them, the cantillation for Eicha is the most beautiful, and the poetry of Eicha the most poignant and lovely (if also tragic and horrible). There is little to compare to the experience of reading it by candlelight while sitting on the grass overlooking the spot where the temple stood 2000 years ago.

We long for the temple to be rebuilt soon, with the help of God. In the meantime, we pray for all of humanity (especially ourselves) to act with love and respect to one another and to God, so that this may be possible.

I'm afraid gaming is out for the whole day :-( .


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