I dread Tisha b’Av. I really do. Far more than I dread Yom Kippur, which has an equally long fast. So what’s the difference?
First of all, we’re in shul all day on Yom Kippur, which keeps me pretty busy; Tisha b’Av has a lot more staring-at-the-wall time.
Next, Yom Kippur is about teshuvah and Tisha b’Av is about mourning, so the mindset is very different.
Finally, I find that the lead-up to Yom Kippur – the entire month of Elul, Rosh Hashana, the Aseres Y’mei Teshuva – does a lot better job of “psyching me up” than the Three Weeks/Nine Days does for Tisha b’Av. (Honestly? I find myself thinking about hamburgers, hot showers and my iPod more than do about the churban.)
So Tisha b’Av needs a little extra help to get me psyched and see me through. Is it safe to assume that I’m not alone in this?
Happily (well, mournfully but, you know…), OU Holidays has everything we need to make the Three Weeks/Nine Days/Tisha b’Av more meaningful.
As of this writing, the following shiurim are featured on OU Holidays:
Tisha B’av: The Meaning Behind the Tears by Charlie Harary;
A Fair Maiden or a Demon? by Rabbi Steven Weil;
From Galus to Geulah by Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky;
Mourning for the Lost Torah by Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb;
The Power of Rachel’s Tears by AlephBeta Academy;
and, especially timely for this year, Seudah Hamafseket on Shabbat-Erev Tisha b’Av by Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir.
Other recent entries of note include Rav Chaim Shmulevitch and The Three Weeks by Rabbi Yosef Grossman and Halacha L’Maaseh on The Three Weeks and Tish’a B’Av by Richard B. Aiken.
If you click around OU Holidays’ Three Weeks and Tisha b’Av sections, you’ll find many more shiurim to make the day more significant.
Of course, the big event happens on Tisha b’Av itself, when the OU presents its annual live webcast featuring Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb and Rabbi Steven Weil. Rabbi Weinreb will be speaking live from Jerusalem 9:00 AM Israel time (which is 2:00 AM Eastern) and Rabbi Weil will be speaking live from Florida, 9:15 AM Eastern. The live webcasts will be recorded and will be available to watch “on demand” throughout the day. You can sign up for the webcasts at www.ou.org/tishabav.
Barring the Messianic era, Tisha b’Av is never going to be fun. It’s not meant to be. But until that joyous event and the subsequent construction of the Bayis Shlishi, we can use tools like OU Holidays and the annual live webcast to ensure that Tisha b’Av is substantial and purposeful, and not just a hungry day spent staring at the wall.