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There’s a Crack in Everything. That’s How the Light Gets In

In his gravelly, prophetic voice, the late, great Leonard Cohen, in his song Anthem, rasps, ‘There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.’

This coming Wednesday the Jewish world commemorates Tisha b’Av, the Fast of the 9th of Av; the saddest and most solemn day of the Jewish calendar. We commemorate the destructions of the First and Second Temples, the 1290 expulsion of England’s Jews, the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, and other tragedies that have befallen our People throughout our long history. Spiritually, Tisha b’Av expresses the darkness we all encounter at different times in our lives and the shattering of our sense of self and our lives that comes about through loss, pain, illness, disappointment…

What should be our response to Tisha b’Av this year, in the midst of a global Pandemic, when so many have lost loved ones, when so many face economic uncertainty or worse, when the world itself is shattering through a lack of collaboration and leadership?

Perhaps tears… Giving ourselves permission to allow our tears to flow – as a People, as a community, as individuals. Tears that we may have held back in our courageous stand against all the challenges we have faced in the past months, in the past years. Our tradition teaches that the Holy Blessed One, the Shechina herself (the nurturing, feminine aspect of God) weeps with us as she accompanies the Jews into exile after the Temple is destroyed.

Perhaps gentleness… Giving ourselves permission to go easy on the harsh desolation expressed in Eicha, the Book of Lamentations, that is part of the ritual for this Fast Day. Allowing ourselves to be held in love by God, the Source of All that Is.

From the dark point of Tisha b’Av our calendar leads us tenderly towards the new month of Elul, and on to Rosh HaShanah, the time for renewal, linked by seven haftarot of comfort and consolation. Ingrained in our Year Cycle is the belief that within our very brokenness lies the potential for healing…. There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Please join us this Wednesday evening for our ECAMPS Tisha b’Av commemoration online.

Stay safe and Be Well. May we all encounter the light that gets through darkness. May we all be blessed with healing and renewal.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Lisa