Sad Jewish Holiday

Dear Rabbi Hyim

I understand from what I read on the Internet that Jewish people are very sad this summer.  Something about one of your Temples being burned to the ground!  Was this an important Jewish temple?  (I have a friend who is a Jew). Was it in St. Louis?  Have you been in touch with the Department of Homeland Security?  I know at the airport those folks are very thorough.  I do wish people would be nicer to you Jewish people.  I like those of you I have met.


Stephanie Z.
St. Louis

Dear Stephanie,

Believe it or not Jewish people are sad every summer; not for a Temple that was destroyed recently but 2,000 years ago.  On the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, in the year 583 before the year one and in the year 70 CE, the Jewish people’s national Temple in Jerusalem, Israel was burned to the ground.  Indeed many very sad destructive things have happened to the Jewish people on this day throughout history.  Here is a link to some of them:

Some people find it strange that we have a holiday on which we are supposed to be sad.  But in reality it is a part of life. To only be happy, to only celebrate festivals, is to ignore a large part of life, history, and who we really are on an emotional, spiritual, and intellectual level.

The Jewish people have lived a complex history.  From destruction to great success, sometimes one after the other in but a short span of time, and back again.  As a great Rabbi once said, “For the Jewish people with our complex past, in every moment of grief there is still joy and hope, and in every moment of happiness there is a tinge of sadness.”

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