Monday, July 30, 2012
On the other side
I'm not sure how many of my readers are aware of this, but yesterday we had the Tisha B'Av fast (delayed, because the actual Tisha B'Av was Shabbat). Generally I do not tolerate fasts very well; the 25 hours without food and water really gets to me. First I'm very hungry, then very thirsty, then just so weak I can hardly move a limb and get a bad headache. Also, ever since Tehilla was born I have been breastfeeding, and so have gone out of habit of fasting - only do this on Tisha B'Av and Yom Kippur, and on Yom Kippur just once so far because two years ago I was 10 days postpartum and a rabbi decreed I can take liquids in small amounts throughout the day.
Add to the difficulty of fasting two very energetic little girls who must be cared for as usual... well, you get the picture. In this case, at the end of the day I was so tired I simply filled two water guns and sent them outside to play. Chickens make great moving targets. :o)
Anyhow, when I fasted previously I always ended up frustrated: "this is a religious obligation, but I don't feel it has any use whatsoever. I can think of no higher purpose when all I want is to eat and drink and carry on my routine and feel normal. Why can't we have, say, light meals and study about the Temple instead?" - but this time, something resonated differently for me.
As I was trying to survive the last hours of the fast, I thought of the Jews after the destruction of the Temple... weak, weary, unsure whether they can carry on another hour... and on top of it all, their whole world tumbling down upon them, dominated by a black void of immeasurable loss and grief we can only vaguely imagine. So I just sat quietly and talked a bit to Shira about the Temple - on an age-appropriate level, of course. I explained we are very sad because we have it no longer, and that we will always feel its loss until it is rebuilt.
May that happen soon.