Sitting in front of my computer wondering how I can get “into the mood” for the upcoming fast of the 9th of Av???
Many people find that they share the difficulties that I have, wondering: How can I mourn the loss of something that I know nothing about?
I can think of two “eitzos,” pieces of advice, that address this issue:
First of all: get off your butt and learn about the Beis HaMikdash! Only someone who knows SOMETHING will have the ability to feel a sense of loss over its lack. The more you know – the more you will be attuned to its loss.
No. 2: Think about the following story:
At the end of the 1967 war, after Tzahal conquered the Old City of Jerusalem, as it is well known there was a tremendous out-welling of feeling as for the first time in generations we Jews finally returned (almost) home to the holy city of Jerusalem. No more were we forbidden from approaching its holy walls. No longer were we subject to restrictions and ridicule for praying at this, the holiest of all places in the world. We were home. The Wall was ours!
As is well known Rav Shlomo Goren zt”l was among the first to approach this, the holiest of sites, rushing with a Sefer Torah to reconsecrate it as a place of tefilla (prayer) for the Jewish people. Of the tens of soldiers there many began to weep uncontrollably out of sheer joy: The dream of 2000 years was a dream no more! We were back, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were ours. The radio broadcasters were yelling uncontrollably “The Kotel is in our hands! The Kotel is in our hands!”
…and off to the side, among the groups of paratroopers, stood a young man, a young Jew that didn’t know what to make of it all. He had grown up on an irreligious Kibbutz; he had been taught that the Torah was an old book made up by a bunch of primitives… and yet here he was! One among the many Jews who were there during history in the making.
Suddenly though he – too – burst into tears. crying uncontrollably. His friends were incredulous: what did he have to cry about? This meant nothing to him!
So slowly his friends approached him, to console him. Finally one of them found the courage to ask “Shimon! Why are YOU crying”?
To which he said, in between sobs, “Don’t you know? I’m crying… because I don’t understand what I’m supposed to be crying about!”
No matter how we slice it if we are disconnected to the Beis Hamikdash, it’s because we lack knowledge. Either what it was… or in the immensity of our disconnect from it.
May we know, speedily in our days, what we have been missing all of these years!