I’ve been thinking over the past few days about certain similarities between Pesach and Tisha B’Av.
This all started because I really wasn’t so sure if I wanted to even post prior to Tisha B’Av this year. I have written about the day here and also here. I felt that I really didn’t have much else to write. We all agree that it’s the saddest day in our history. The events that took place are, in essence, the source for our state of Golus today. I think most of us get the idea. And if we don’t then that’s part of the problem.
I then realized that if I had taken this attitude towards other days, for example, Pesach, then I would have been very disconnected to Torah Judaism on a very personal level. I then began to think about several connections between Pesach and Tishah B’Av. I’ll list a few minor ones and then the major connection that has been plaguing me. These are all pretty basic ideas…
- Eating- On Pesach we have postive mitzvos to eat certain foods, to help bring our guf to an elevated level. On Tishah B’Av it’s the mitzvah not to eat that only reminds us that we cannot enjoy eating an karbonos due to not having a Beis HaMikdash.
- How we carry ourselves- On Pesach we sit at the seder like royalty. We emphasis the idea that we are ‘free’ people. On Tishah B’Av we are broken. We sit on the floor, we don’t really worry about our appearance.
- Formulated readings- On Pesach we have our Haggadah that pretty much gives us a structured dialogue for the evening(s). On Tishah B’Av we filter our feelings through the reading of Kinnos.
- National expression- On Pesach, we celebrate the birth of becoming a nation. We left Mitzrayim as a nation in order to receive the Torah as a nation, with the hope of fullfilling that Torah in our national homeland. On Tishah B’Av we mourn our national tragidies. The loss of our nation’s Holy Temples and our nationwide exile.
- Personal expression- On Pesach we are to feel as if we ourselves left Egypt. On Tishah B’Av we must feel a personal loss and responsibility for doing our upmost to end our Golus.
Lastly, there is the concept that Pesach is our Zman Charusanu-our time of freedom. We were taken out of slavery so that we could chose to follow Hashem. It is that same freedom of choice (bechira) that our own downfall.
Our Sages, of blessed memory, state (Yoma 9b): “Why was the First Temple destroyed? Because of the follow three sins that occurred there: idol worship, immorality, and murder. Yet, in the period of the Second Temple, they were involved in Torah study, mitzvos, and acts of kindness-so why was it destroyed? As a result of the baseless hatred that was there. Rebbi Yochanan and Rebbi Eliezer both said, ‘Since concerning the First Temple, their trangressions were revealed-their time of redemption was revealed. In the Second Temple, where their sins were not revealed-their time of redemption was not revealed.’”
It was us. Plain and simple. This power of choice, this freedom to serve Hashem only works if we want it to. Hashem’s connection to us is based on how close we want it to be. It’s the three Big Ones and Sinas Chinom that distanced us and ultimately sent us into Golus.
I see it in myself. When I choose to really attach myself to a vibrant active relationship with Hashem I am a much happier person. When I chose not to, well, I end up being not so happy.
In the end, it’s all about the choices we each make. May this be the last year we sit close to the ground on Tishah B’Av.