August 4, 2014 – 8 Menachem Av 5774

Whatever difficulty I normally have genuinely feeling the loss and despair of Tisha Ba’Av, this year will surely be different. The last several weeks have glaringly demonstrated the fragility of life in the diaspora and the dangers to our people in our own land.

As the events have unfolded and as so many Jewish lives have been shed by the enemies of the Jewish people, the concluding words of kaddish have become particularly poignant to me.

Yehai shlama rabba min shemaya – May abundant peace and life from heaven be bestowed – aleinu val kol Yisrael – upon us and all Israel…

Oseh shalom bimromav – May He who makes peace in the high heaven – ho yaaseh shalom – grant peace – aleinu val kol Yisrael – unto us and unto all of Israel…

How easy (and normal) it is for these words, repeated multiple times daily, to be recited with insufficient thought and feeling.

Until recently.

Now each time I recite kaddish it takes me a few moments longer. I think of the over sixty sacrifices that have been brought over the last several weeks. I think of the wounded, of the fathers and mothers, wives and children who have suffered losses of one type or another.

As Tisha Ba’Av descends upon me, I think of the circle of tzadikim (the righteous) in Gan Eden, described at the end of Taanis (a tractate in the Talmud) in which the Almighty sits in the center. Surely, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel, Hy”d and the over sixty soldiers who have given their lives are sitting, at this very moment, in that circle.

And as the Gemorah describes:

“Each one points with his finger and says, ‘And it will be said on that day here is our Lord for whom have longed and who will redeem us.

This is G-d for whom we have longed. Let us rejoice and be happy in His salvation’.”

May we merit to witness that day.

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