Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Something for Everyone on Tisha Ba'av

Several local synagogues showed a a video Tisha Ba'av afternoon titled "It Is No Dream: the Life of Theodor Herzl."  I was puzzled; I didn't understand how this was an appropriate activity for a day when we mourn the churban habayis and the galus.  But someone explained to me that it is perfectly appropriate.  For some, it expresses the consolation that we begin to feel as the day ends, because Herzel's divine inspiration was a manifestation of the אתחלתא דגאולה, the beginning of the ingathering and the end of the galus, and ultimately the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash.  For others, Herzl and his Zionism compounded the tragedy we mourn in the morning's kinos.  So this is one of the rare cases where almost all the segments of the Jewish community can agree on something- that this video is something we can watch on Tisha Ba'av.

Along the same lines, in 1962 I was in Bnei Brak for Tisha Ba'av, and I expected it to be a day in which the mournfulness of Tisha Ba'av would be experienced especially deeply.  It didn't turn out that way.  Many of the kids there spent the morning pinging each other (and the occasional adult) with pea shooters, before, during, and after Kinnos.  (They weren't shooting peas, they were shooting the little green berries from the local cedar trees.)  I mentioned my fifty year old memory to my son in law, and he told me that this still goes on in Yerushalayim in the old community.  Some kids throw the seeds from weeds that stick to your clothes, נערות נערות וטפשותיה.  In fact, my son in law showed me that the minhag is brought down in Reb Yaakov Emden's siddur.  Reb Yaakov Emden has a unique style of writing, and I decided to reproduce his words intact and untranslated.

ולא אטריח קולמסי לדבר מקלי עולם השמחים לאיד הגרועים מבני נכר שאפי׳ אויבנו השומעים אותנו מתאבלים ובוכים לבם נשבר ונעכר והללו לשחוק עושים לחם שערים גולריין הקטנים מתגרים הבנים מלקטים עצים והאבות מבערים (ירמיהו ז:יח) והגדולים כסומים וכעורים מושכים ידים את לוצצים מלעיגים ומלעיביס ומתעתעים בתוכחות הלא טוב מותם מחייהם אטו ברשיעי כה"ג ובגברי קטילי עסקינן  ולא נחרבה ביתר אלא על שלא התאבלו על ירושלים כראוי אעפ״י שהי׳ להם חסידים  גדולים ותנאים ראשונים והקולר תלוי במי שיש  בידו למחות והמוחה יזכה לנחמות ולשמחות

This is also brought in the Mishna Berura (559:22) from the Elia Rabba, but the best he can muster is רע עלי המעשה and עון גדול הוא.

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