On the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, falling this year on Saturday night and Sunday, Jews will fast and commemorate historic national tragedies—most importantly, the destruction of the First and Second Temples, the loss of national sovereignty, and the exile. David Wolpe explains why, with national sovereignty restored and Jews free to return to their land, this day of mourning remains as important as ever:
There is wisdom in remembering, for it is the unremembered past, as psychoanalysts teach us, that controls us. What we remember we can integrate and understand. The destruction of the Temple inaugurated the wandering of the Jews. Many other tragedies have attached themselves to this date. . . . But it was the initial destruction that propelled the subsequent history, glorious and tragic, of a homeless people. . . .
This day of sadness also affirms that we live in an unredeemed world. As a people convinced the messiah has not come, we recognize that the human drama is a story without an ending. . . .
Cicero, the Roman orator who lived a century before his people burned the Second Temple, taught that not to remember your past is to remain forever a child. The Jewish people have lived too long to remain children. We will sit and weep for what was and hope for what might be. We will continue, in a turbulent world, to cherish the prayer that one day their tears will be wiped away. And to hope that there will be peace on God’s holy mountain, for knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters fill the sea.