Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mourning for the Bais Hamikdosh-Part 2

If you haven't read Part 1 on this topic, read it here.

When I thought and thought about it, I came up with my own answer.

When someone dies, no one needs to tell you how to feel. The emotions come almost instantly, with such force and intensity, it is natural to mourn in the deepest possible way. The grief, the pain, it's all so raw, one cannot help but feel it. I know because I've been there. The mourning starts with shiva. Staying home, sitting on low chairs, wearing the same clothing that was torn at the levaya all week long...(the shell underneath can be changed.) It's intense. It's heavy. It's hard. But it helps to go through this part and be able to feel it all, hear stories from other people, remember the loved one that passed away, in order to be able to move on to the next phase of mourning. 

The shloshim. It's not as strong, but plenty strong too. Memories keep coming back and tears continue to flow. But hopefully, it's not as constant as during those seven days of shiva. The restrictions aren't as severe, there's still no music, the joy isn't back yet.

For a parent, there's a year of mourning. Baruch Hashem I haven't experienced that but it is a way of continuing to grieve, to mourn, to hold on a little longer to those deep feelings of loss. The music cannot play when someone's parent is gone forever.

Eventually, the cloud starts to lift and life must go on. It's hard to start smiling again. It's hard to see people in the street for the first (or second or third) time since "it" happened. They don't know what to say. You just want them to talk to you normally but they're at a loss. A loss for words that is. You're the one who suffered a loss.

With time, things start to get into a routine and you try to go on. But you never forget. There's a yartzeit every year as a reminder that we don't live forever. It's a time to remember the one you lost. But you try...you try to move on...past the pain, the initial pain of hearing the news and trying to digest this as your new reality, the continuous pain that comes back so many times without a warning. But you must move on.

There are times when these emotions can come back with such force, it's hard to imagine such intensity exists unless you've experienced it yourself. I know because I've felt it. It can be a small little trigger, seeing or hearing something that reminds you of the one you lost, but when that happens, a sea of emotions start raging inside of you and you feel as if you might just go under. But you hold on, hold on to the fact that you need to make it through this, try to let some of those tears out...and go on.

This is a little bit of an explanation of how losing someone close to you starts from more intense to less intense forms of mourning. It starts off with strong feelings of mourning and slowly, you start to get used to things and learn to deal with the pain and move on. Although there are times when the pain comes back, you learn how to get through those times and continue on.

When it comes to mourning the bais hamikdosh, it works in the exact opposite way. We don't know how to mourn. We don't know what we are missing. We are so far away from it. We never saw Hashem's holy house, we never lived in a time of clarity, real joy, real meaning, real depth, real connection. We don't know what we lost and we are expected to want it back. So we need to slowly ease in to the mourning. We need the rules to be set up for us so we can try to mourn on the outside so it can affect us on the inside.

We start off with the three weeks. No music. No haircuts. No new clothing. No weddings. It's supposed to break the monotony of our daily schedules. We don't just hop into the car and turn on the music first thing. Stop. Think for a minute. Why aren't we listening to music now?

Then come the nine days. Bathing and showering come along with rules. We don't just take comfortable, hot showers. We are supposed to be feeling some level of discomfort on the outside so that it will affect our thoughts and emotions on the inside.

And then comes tisha b'av. The day of mourning for the bais hamikdosh. Just like during shiva, we do not offer greetings of "hello" or "how are you" to other people we see. We are more subdued. Sad. We are supposed to feel something real. What should we be feeling? How can we feel sad on this day when we don't know what we lost?

We need to spend some time during the three weeks leading up to the nine days and then to tisha b'av thinking a little bit. The mourning on the outside is supposed to do something to us on the inside. These shouldn't be three weeks of simply managing without music, without the haircut, without the new clothing, without weddings, just so we can make it through this time. We need to internalize what we are doing on the outside by letting it touch us on the inside...by thinking...and by asking...

What was the bais hamikdosh? What was life like back then? Why do we want it back? These are questions we need to ask ourselves (or others if we need to) as we go through the motions of mourning...so that the external forms of mourning can have an effect on us, deep inside of us...and then we will truly be able to mourn.

May we all be included in those who mourned for the destruction of the bais hamikdosh and be zoche to see it's rebuilding, as it says, kol hamisabel al yerushalayim zoche v'roeh b'simchasah. 


  1. wow devoiry!!!! you always write amazing!!! and you are amazing!!! :) thanx for sharing and amen to your bracha!!!

  2. Very thoughtful post.

    I personally think that all the rules detract from thinking about the Bays Hamikdash.

    I find myself more busy thinking is acapella music ok, are meat leftovers from shabebs ok etc..


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