Why Keep Mourning on Tisha b’Av?

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.

Read more at Time

More about: Mourning, Psychoanalysis, Religion & Holidays, Tisha b'Av

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security