July 27, 2004

Commemorate, commiserate

My blog-friend Rachel has a wonderful and thought-provoking post over at Velveteen Rabbi titled Wrestling with 9 Av, describing her own personal commemoration of the destruction of the Temples. The following quote of note will be rattling around in my head all day:
I also have a hard time with the holiday's potential implication that our suffering is somehow greater or stronger or worse than other peoples' suffering. I find resonance in the notion that we are in galut, exile from oneness with our Source -- and can relate to the destruction of the Temple as a symbol of that exile -- but surely all of humanity, not just the Jewish people, suffers from that distance-from-God. So although it's not historically the dominant interpretation of the holiday, I think of Tisha B'Av more as the day of universal exile.
I suppose it reflects my Evangelical roots, but to me the Jewish people's exile is more tragic for the uniqueness of their relationship with God--their uncommon knowledge of the Source. Only a Jew could write the Lamentations.

I have felt until recently that I've been in galut myself. Though that cloud is finally beginning to lift, perhaps I'll read the Lamentations myself today as a reminder of the pain of exile that is the almost-universal experience of my fellow men. Lord, as I begin to feel your warm Light on my face again, give me greater compassion for those stumbling in the darkness.


At 10:32 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

Thanks for this beautiful post, Daniel. I'm pleased that my musings on my struggle with this holiday resonated for you.

To me, galut/exile is an essential quality of the human condition. Unless we've numbed ourselves, we all experience dark nights of the soul. The message I strive to find in Tisha b'Av is that there can be solace in coming together to mourn what's broken, and that in reaching out we open ourselves to connection with that which is greater than we...


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