Tisha B’Av: Turning Mourning into Action

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On April 11, 1944, a young Anne Frank wrote in her diary:

Who has made us Jews different from all other people? Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly until now? It is God Who has made us as we are, but it will be God, too, who will raise us up again. Who knows – it might even be our religion from which the world and all peoples learn good, and for that reason and that reason alone do we now suffer. We can never become just Netherlanders, or just English, or representatives of any other country for that matter. We will always remain Jews.

Anne Frank was on to something. The Talmud asks, from where did Mount Sinai derive its name? After offering a few alternatives, the Talmud suggests that Mount Sinai comes from Hebrew word “sinah” which means hatred, because the non-Jews’ hatred of the Jews descended upon that mountain when the Jewish people received the Torah there.

Torah demands a moral and ethical lifestyle, an attitude of giving rather than taking, a life of service rather than of privilege, that has revolutionized the world. The Jewish people have been charged to be the moral conscience of the world, a mission they have not always succeeded at, but that nevertheless drew the ire, anger and hatred of so many. For two thousand years the Jews were bullied and persecuted simply because of their Jewishness and all that stands for.

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The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.