…Mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:15 (NIV) “…mourn with those who mourn.”

For the last ten years or so, 9/11 has been a day of remembrance and sorrow.  Nationally, 522px-North_face_south_tower_after_plane_strike_9-11we cannot forget that date.  It is forever burned in the memories of any who watched, and we have told our children who may not have witnessed the horror.

Imagine for a moment if, against massive statistical odds, we could look back at numerous disasters that fell on that same date: 9/11!  How then, as a people would we feel about that date?  What if the combined deaths from those tragedies, always on (or very near) that date, totaled in the tens of millions?  Blackness.  Grief.  Mourning!

There is such a date, and it begins at sundown tonight.  It is Tisha B’Av, or ‘the ninth of Av.’

Against all statistical odds, this date has proved more disastrous for the Jewish people than any other date in history! On this day,

  • 587 BCE Solomon’s Temple breached and burned/destroyed by the Babylonians.
  • 70 CE Second Temple destroyed by Romans.800px-Francesco_Hayez_017
  • 135 CE Bar Kokhba rebellion put down and 100,000 Jews slaughtered at Betar.
  • 1096 CE First Crusade began by killing 10,000 Jews in first month and 1.2 million before it ended.
  • 1290 CE Jews expelled from England.
  • 1306 CE (10th of AV) Jews expelled from France.
  • 1492 CE (7th of AV) Jews expelled from Spain.
  • 1941 CE SS Officer Heinrich Himmler received approval to implement the ‘Final Solution,’ i.e. Holocaust.
  • 1942 CE Jews in Warsaw Ghetto deported for Treblinka (death camp).

And those are just the biggies….  Many more tragedies fell on Tasha B’Av or within a day or so.  Very strange…  and sad.

How am I, as a non-Jewish follower of the Jewish Messiah, to react? Continue reading “…Mourn with those who mourn.”

Jubilee, Yom Kippur and Isaiah 61

This week’s Torah Portion, Behar (‘on the Mount’), is primarily about the seventh year Sabbaths and the year of Jubilee.  Leviticus 25 gives us many details of this joyous event of freedom that was commanded to occur every

From Wiki:Shofar...  Old Jerusalem Yochanan ben Zakkai synagogue - A flask of oil and a shofar for the anointing of the eagerly-awaited Mashiach.[1]
From Wiki:Shofar… Old Jerusalem Yochanan ben Zakkai synagogue – A flask of oil and a shofar for the anointing of the eagerly-awaited Mashiach.[1]
50 years in Israel’s calendar.  On this date that began a Sabbatical year, slaves received freedom, debts were cancelled and land was returned to families who might have lost it during difficult circumstances.  What joy!

In our Torah study today at Davar Chaim, I pondered aloud the juxtaposition of this first day of Jubilees occurring on Yom Kippur, traditionally a day of mourning, of ashes, and of weakness induced by fasting.  Here is the verse,

‘You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine years. You shall then sound a ram’s horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement Continue reading “Jubilee, Yom Kippur and Isaiah 61”