The Strength of the Messianic Hope
Tisha B’Av 5758
Tisha B’Av is a day of fasting and lamentations to remember the destruction of the Temple and the fall of Jerusalem into the hands of the enemy. This day is dedicated both to the destruction of the First and Second Temples.
The question is asked what should this day express for the secular Jew who does not keep the religious commandments particularly in our days when the State of Israel is alive and well. Jerusalem is flourishing and it would seem there is no reason to mourn its loss and the secular Jew is far from aspiring to the resurrection of the Temple.
Jerusalem was destroyed twice when militant foreigners took control of the people and entered into a conflict that was hopeless from the outset with the superpowers at those times. The fighters of that same era believed that they would succeed in their wars due to the divine promise allegedly.
In our times too there are those who believe that the divine promise based on the alliance of love between the Holy One Blessed Be He and the people of Israel, an alliance that was drawn up in the light of the flames of the Temple that was on fire and it includes the promise to resurrect the Temple; whether it will descend from the heavens or whether it shall be built by the Messiah whose role is to redeem the people and build the Temple.
These traditions are dangerous for the existence of the people of Israel.
Throughout history now and again “messiahs” have arisen who wanted to take upon themselves the objective of building the Temple. Many of the people of Israel were attracted and deceived by these messiahs. Even today messiahs such as these are rising. Although not individuals but rather parties and movements that etch on their flags a messianic desire to build the Temple and lead us into conflicts with peoples of the region, who advocate to destroy mosques on the Temple Mount and religious wars.
It is our tragedy that these beliefs could end in the destruction of the State of Israel and the overall collapse of Judaism worldwide.
Therefore, Tisha B’Av is a dangerous day if those keeping it are not satisfied with fasting and lamentations, but rather consider it as a day on which in the future the divine promise shall be realized; if it is considered as a day that should, it would seem,,be a symbol of the sanctity of the greater Israel, and the strengthening of those who support the non-relinquishment and compromise with an additional nation which is also located in this land.
Tisha B’Av should be maintained as a day of warning that national extremism could lead only to disaster, mainly if it is carried, allegedly, on the shoulders of the divine promise.