Tisha B'Av - Vital Transformation

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Tisha B’Av

July 26, 2023

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To follow along with this study, visit: https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/501919?editor=1


Tisha B’Av: A Day of Mourning, Reflection, and Aspiration for Unity

Tisha B’Av, one of the most solemn days in the Jewish calendar, marks the commemoration of various calamities that have befallen the Jewish people, most notably the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Rabbi Eliyahu Jian delves deep into the spiritual significance of this day, urging us towards introspection, unity, and overcoming baseless hatred.

The Historical Context: Lessons from the Past

The Rabbi begins by recounting the story of the spies (the Meraglim) sent by Moses to scout the Land of Israel. Their return with a negative report, doubting the people’s ability to conquer the land, sowed seeds of despair and disobedience among the Israelites. This day, the 9th of Av, became cursed through history, marking not only the return of the spies but also the subsequent destruction of both the First and Second Temples on the same date.

The Curse of Baseless Hatred

Drawing from the teachings of the Ashlag Baal HaSulam, Rabbi Jian emphasizes that the core issue at the heart of Tisha B’Av is Sinat Chinam (baseless hatred) among people. This hatred, a spiritual malaise, has perpetuated suffering and division within the Jewish community and humanity at large. The Rabbi connects this to the biblical narrative of the serpent’s deception in the Garden of Eden, which introduced animosity into the world by driving a wedge between Adam, Eve, and the serpent itself.

Building Fences: Protecting Our Spiritual Integrity

The Rabbi highlights the importance of “Gedarim” (fences) – personal and communal boundaries we set to protect our spiritual integrity and prevent the intrusion of negative influences, symbolized by the serpent. These fences are not physical but moral and spiritual guidelines that help us resist jealousy, hatred, and other base inclinations. Without these protective boundaries, we are vulnerable to the serpent’s venom – the poison of hatred and division.

Mourning the Temple: Lamenting Lost Unity

On Tisha B’Av, we mourn not just the physical destruction of the Temples but the loss of a spiritual system that embodied divine love and unity among people. The Temples were more than buildings; they were the heart of a spiritual framework that facilitated a profound connection between humanity and the Divine, promoting peace and brotherhood.

A Call to Action: Overcoming Hatred with Love

In his message, Rabbi Jian calls on us to reflect on our actions and attitudes towards others. Tisha B’Av serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of baseless hatred and the importance of striving for unity and love. By recognizing and combating our negative inclinations, we can rebuild the spiritual “Temple” within our hearts and communities, paving the way for a future marked by harmony and mutual respect.

Conclusion: A Journey Towards Healing and Redemption

Rabbi Eliyahu Jian’s teachings on Tisha B’Av inspire us to embark on a journey of healing and redemption. By confronting our baseless hatred and embracing love and unity, we honor the memory of the Temples and take a significant step towards a brighter, more inclusive future. Let this Tisha B’Av be a turning point, where we commit to tearing down the walls of animosity and building bridges of understanding and compassion.

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