Tisha B’Av – What Are We Longing For?

Tisha B’Av – What Are We Longing For? Shimon Aaron – 5780

As a professional, I have found myself many times speaking with consultants or potential clients, vendors or partners asking them a simple question.

“I am not familiar enough with what you do. I don’t know what I don’t know – please tell me the questions I should be asking”

This is how I feel today honestly, “I don’t know what I don’t know I don’t know”. And if I am being really honest. I don’t think any of us do. We have no idea what it means to have the Beis Hamikdash and the Avoda, we have no idea how that will look for us. We have no clue what we have lost and don’t have.  And no matter what we read and what we see, no description can substitute what we feel via our experiences. This is the nature of being human.

So when we cry for the loss of the Beis HaMikdash, and when we yearn for its rebuilding – other than social training and religious habit and formula what are we REALLY feeling?  What are we REALLY asking for? – We don’t know what we don’t know…

In the Haftorah of Shabbos Chazon, this past week I learned something that has helped me process this in a deep way. One of Onkelos’ set goals was to remove and explain any anthropomorphisms, depictions of HaShem performing physical acts or having physical qualities. So in Yeshaya 1:15 which normally translates like this;

“When the Priests spread out their hands to pray for you, I will remove the face of My shekhinah from you…”

Onkelos – would translate:

“When the Priests spread out their hands to pray for you, I will remove the feeling that HaShem is present in your lives from you…”

This would imply that Yeshaya HaNavi was speaking to people that were showing up, because they were there to be under the spread hands of the Priests.

This is my Tisha B’Av, I honestly have no clue what it means to have a Beis Hamikdash . So much so that I don’t even know what I don’t know.  But I do know this- I know how many times I feel like I have shown up, I keep showing up, I desire to show up and I don’t always feel the presence of HaShem in my life and sometimes davka I don’t feel it at all, I feel rejected.

That said, I have deep emuna, I work to see hints, I have “knowledge” that He is here – but the hiding is so thick that I cannot always feel it even when I am showing up. 

I don’t know what life will be like in the future, but my singular hope and the backbone of my emuna is to believe that one day, when we have our Beis Hamikdash and HaShem is revealed to us in a more evident way. That we will not “show up” to check the box or hoping that if we go we will feel something… but that we will feel His presence so deeply that we will run to be there fully, heart and soul, to experience the intimacy of our relationship. 

Today, for me, this means, I can’t go to shul, put on tefillin or do anything hoping to feel HaShem’s closeness to me, I must go to shul, put on tefillin, etc. because I know that HaShem and I are so close.

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