Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Some Thoughts about the Day

Rav Yoseph Dov Soloveitchik - The Rav
It is always a challenge for me to post something on Tisha B’Av both relevant to what this day is about and relevant to our own time. In the past I have focused on the Holocaust. More recently I have found Rav Soloveitchik’s commentary on the Kinos.

In Kina 6, the Rav notes the pain he had when Christian clergymen during the holocaust argued that this was proof the God abandoned us (the Jewish people)  and allowed for our complete destruction. Thus claiming fulfilment of words of their bible. He was confronted by these arguments and cried not only for the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash but also for the terrible Chilul HaShem that these arguments represented. But – among other things – the establishment of the State of Israel put a stop to those arguments.

But I do have a quibble with another commentary the Rav made on Kina 20. He states the essential Christian dogma that the Jews have lost the right to the land of Israel is true to this day.

This may have been true prior to and during the Holocaust. But there are approximately 65 million Evangelical Christians that prove otherwise. They are often more pro Israel than many Jews are. Unless he made that statement prior to the mid 60s - I believe that Rav was mistaken.

Another interesting point made by the Rav is his commentary on Kina 9. Eicha is a lament about How God could do this to us. How could he destroy our Holy Temple and perpetrateso many other tragedies against us throughout Jewish history. It s a lament that implies no logical explanation. “How is it posssible?’ we ask.

That is answered in the first stanza: You have done this to yourselves. The One speaking - is God. We are responsible for our own catastrophe. And we must accept the justness of God’s decree.

Looking at what is going on in the world today, one can readily see that we are indeed doing it to ourselves. Our educational system was once able to accommodate all manner of students. Today, only the best and the brightest are accommodated. This has created a catastrophe of epic proportion in our time. The ‘kids at risk’ phenomenon barely existed back when I was in school. There was a place for every student. Today, if a child doesn’t measure up, there is no room in the school for them. All of these children are at risk and many go OTD. Or worse.

There is sex abuse and spousal abuse. There is the unsolved Aguna crisis. There is a Shidduch crisis; the OTD crisis; the constant news stories about religious looking Jews defrauding the government... and baseless hatred galore. There is more divisiveness than ever in Orthodoxy today. Which results in seriously condescending attitudes about fellow Jews to the point of embarrassing them in public. We have learned nothing from that tragedy of the destruction of the temple brought about because of baseless hatred. It’s still there.

So yes, we have indeed brought these tragedies upon ourselves. And apparently we will continue to do so. Because as a people we can’t seem to do what it takes to live up to the standards God expects of us. Although there are individuals that do live up to those standards, as a people, we fail. Which we make note of every year at this time.

When will we ever become worthy of the redemption God has promised us? Hopefully soon - quickly in our day.