During the summer, we observe Tisha Be’av, our Jewish national day of mourning for all our tragedies, and the days leading up to this day are also marked with a certain amount of sadness.
The days leading up to Tisha Be’av mirror the days of mourning after a person loses a loved one. But they are in reverse, usually when a person dies their family mourns for an extended period of time after the death in order to slowly ease them our of sorrow, but with Tisha Be’av we slowly ease our way into sorrow.
When a person dies, we feel the sadness and pain, it hits us hard, it is a reality and it is immediate. But Tisha Be’av is not felt in the same way. For most of us, it is not so real, it is not immediate or tangible. So, our sages tried to help us “get in the mood” by slowly lowering us into sorrow to better feel our fellow Jews’ pain. That is what Tisha Be’av is all about, unity. We Jewish people are all one person, when one of us is in pain, across time and space we are all in pain. So when a Jew suffered hundreds or thousands of years ago, it hurts us, and when a Jew suffers today on the other side of the world, it hurts us.
Today’s Jewish mission is to “get in the mood” and feel the pain of your fellow Jews. Spend a little bit of time looking into some Jewish tragedies. Whether they be going today (Our brothers who have been kidnapped, may they be returned soon and safely!) or in the past (pogroms of Europe, the holocaust, the inquisition, etc.) take some time to feel the pain of our fellow Jews.