Still Crying After 2000 years?
The Book of Genesis describes how Jacob mourned during the entire twenty-two years that Joseph was missing. Nothing consoled him. No one could comfort him. One would think that after 22 years the pain of the death of a loved one would somewhat lessen or ease with the passage of time, but in this case it did not. Why? Because there was no closure, no burial. Why? Because Joseph was not dead!
For over 2000 years the Jewish people have been mourning the destruction of the Holy Temple. At every festive occasion its loss is remembered. No wedding takes places without the symbolic broken glass. Ashes of mourning are placed upon the forehead of the groom and a section of a new home is left unpainted or unfinished, all in remembrance of the Destruction and the Exile from Zion. One might ask, “Why are they still crying after 2000 years?” Why can’t they get over it and move on? Why? Because there was never any closure, no burial. Why? Because the Temple’s bricks and stone have been destroyed, but the Divine Promise still stands, the Temple will be rebuilt and until that day Zion will never be forgotten.
One August day (it was on Tisha b’Av, the 9th day of the month of Av, the day that marks the destruction of both the First and Second Temple) Napoleon was walking along a street when he stopped in front of a synagogue. He heard crying from within. “What are those Jews doing?” He asked the soldier at his side. “They are mourning over the destruction of their Temple.”
“When did that happen?”
“Around 2000 years ago.”
“They are still crying after 2000 years? A nation that mourns so long will never cease. They will surely return to their land and see the rebuilding of their Temple.”
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