"I believe with an absolute belief in the coming of the Mashiach
and even if he seems to delay, nevertheless, with all that,
each and every day I still await his coming."
— From the Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith
MTA began the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, Tisha B'Av, at the Herodion, one of the most impressive remains from the era of King Herod. One hundred years after this period in 70 CE, Jews stood on this mountain top, distraught, as they watched Jerusalem and the Holy Temple go up in flames.
At the start of Tisha B’Av, MTA assembled atop the Herodion to gaze upon modern Jerusalem in the distance, before reading Eichah and Kinot. Eichah was read by Yossi Fest, Jonny Eintracht and Ilan Posner.
In contemporary history, on Tisha B'Av in 1940 (5700 in the Jewish calendar), Himmler presented his plan for the “Final Solution” to the Nazi Party in Germany. Two years later, in 1942 (5702) - 70 years ago today - the Nazis began deporting Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto.
Tomorrow we will reflect on some key themes regarding the destruction of the Temples, and we will also reflect on our recent journey to Poland, before going to the Kotel, the only remnant we have of the Temple.
There is a story about the Chafetz Chaim, a rabbi who lived at the turn of the last century, who received a request from a Jewish soldier who had been drafted into the Polish army. The soldier explained that he was assigned to a remote base where there were no Jewish soldiers, no religious services and no kosher food. It would impossible to keep Shabbat or any of the mitzvot. He asked the rabbi: “How can I possibly survive as an observant Jew here?”
The Chafetz Chaim’s response to the soldier was one of encouragement: “There is one thing you can and must do. Whenever you have a free moment, speak to God, and whenever you speak to God, face east. In so doing, you will be directing your thoughts towards Jerusalem, and reuniting yourself with the Jewish people. In fact, whenever a Jew faces Jerusalem in prayer, it is as if he or she is in Jerusalem.”
Especially at times of despair for the Jewish people our thoughts and prayers are directed towards the remaining wall surrounding the Temple - the Kotel. May our actions help to bring us closer to the redemption, so that we will be able to celebrate in the rebuilt Jerusalem.