Rebuilding the Temple Within

Rebuilding the Temple Within

Jul 16, 2021 By Eitan Fishbane | Commentary | Devarim | Tishah Be'av

With this parashah, we begin the book of Deuteronomy, the opening of a book of memory—a recalling of the forty years of desert wandering while simultaneously anticipating the entrance of the people into the Land of Israel.

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The Wholeness of a Broken Tablet

The Wholeness of a Broken Tablet

Jul 31, 2020 By Naomi Kalish | Commentary | Va'et-hannan | Tishah Be'av

Parashat Va’et-hannan (Deut. 3–7) is always read on Shabbat Nahamu—the “Shabbat of Comfort”—which falls immediately after Tishah Be’av, the day when we commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples. It receives its name from the opening line of the Haftarah: “Comfort, comfort, my people” (Isaiah 40:1).

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Hope Amid Destruction

Hope Amid Destruction

Aug 9, 2019 By Sara J. Bloomfield | Commentary | Devarim | Tishah Be'av

Tishah Be’av, which begins immediately after this Shabbat, is a moment on the Jewish calendar when we pause to reflect on the nature, impact, and significance of destruction. I’ve spent 33 years working at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, so naturally I’ve thought intensely about what the catastrophic destruction of European Jewry means for me, for Jews, and for humanity.

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Cantillation for Lamentations

Cantillation for Lamentations

Oct 23, 2018 By The Jewish Theological Seminary | Prayer Recordings | Tishah Be'av

Recordings by Cantor Sarah Levine (CS ’17).

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Third Haftarah of Rebuke (Shabbat Hazon)

Third Haftarah of Rebuke (Shabbat Hazon)

Jul 20, 2018 By Jan Uhrbach | Commentary | Devarim | Tishah Be'av

In this third haftarah of calamity or rebuke, the opening chapter of Isaiah, the once noble society has sunk to the level of Sodom and Gomorrah. Strikingly, there is no dearth of external piety (indeed, God is over-satiated to the point of disgust with the people’s offerings and prayers), nor is there any charge of sexual impropriety or impurity. Rather, the suffering of the people is caused by injustice, indifference to the cries of the vulnerable, oppression, systemic greed, and selfish and self-serving leadership.

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First and second haftarot of rebuke

First and second haftarot of rebuke

Jul 6, 2018 By Jan Uhrbach | Commentary | Masei | Mattot | Pinehas | Tishah Be'av

Chapters 1 and 2 of Jeremiah constitute the first two haftarot of “calamity” or rebuke. In them, the prophet anticipates disorienting but necessary societal upheaval; he is called “to uproot and pull down, destroy and overthrow,” and also “to build and to plant.” 

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Unleashing the Haftarah

Unleashing the Haftarah

Jul 13, 2018 By Jan Uhrbach | Commentary | Tishah Be'av

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Tanakh is its self-critical character. Like the narratives of the Torah, the “former” prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings) feature only flawed heroes. The “latter” prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the twelve minor prophets) raise the stakes. Soaring and searing, they rail against the injustices and failures of society, holding a mirror to structural inequities that create poverty and oppression. The prophets lay bare the systemic corruptions within even biblically-created institutions—the priesthood, monarchy, and nation—revealing hypocrisies, false pieties, and breaches of the public trust.

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Confronting Our Own Shortcomings

Confronting Our Own Shortcomings

Aug 9, 2011 By Andrew Shugerman | Commentary | Text Study | Tishah Be'av

It may sound strange that I look forward every summer to observing Tish’ah Be’Av. The saddest day on the Hebrew calendar is also the one I have found most consistently meaningful since my teenage years.

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Seeing the Good

Seeing the Good

Jul 31, 2004 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Tishah Be'av

On Tishah b’Av, commemorated this past Monday and Tuesday evenings, the Jewish community focuses on the many tragedies which have befallen the Jewish people throughout the ages. This day is of central importance to the Jewish calendar. The Mishnah of tractate Taanit 26a-b lists four events that occurred on the Ninth of Av: the decree that the generation of Israelites that left Egypt could not enter the Land of Israel; the destruction of the First and Second Temples (586 BCE and 70 CE, respectively); the capture and fall of Betar under the Romans (135 CE); and the plowing over of Jerusalem (136 CE).

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Two Paths of Teshuvah

Two Paths of Teshuvah

Jul 20, 2002 By Lauren Eichler Berkun | Commentary | Va'et-hannan | Tishah Be'av

This week marks the commemoration of great national calamities in Jewish history. The Torah reading for the morning of Tisha B’Av is a selection from this week’s Torah portion (Deuteronomy 4:25–40). This reading highlights an important aspect of our spiritual response to tragedy.

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