Tuesday, August 9, 2011

TISHA B'AV: TRIANGULATION COMPLETE

By Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

2012 may indeed herald a year of cleansing for humanity as a whole. It may usher in a new era of radical awareness of our common humanity, a new era of recognition of the futility of an ethos of hatred and division, of separation from the heart of our Creator. Perhaps it may take a new world war to achieve this awareness. Or perhaps not. The messianic age, it is said, will be ushered in with kindness and ease, if we are deserving, or the opposite, CV"S, if not.

The Mayan calendar said it. Nostradamus said it. Now, "Judaism," or if you prefer, the Jewish calendar, says it. The triangulation is complete. 2012. The year of the "big cleanse." Are you ready?

Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the month of Av, is the most sorrowful day on the Jewish calendar, the culmination of three weeks of semi-mourning. A comprehensive list of national Jewish tragedies, from the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem to the expulsion from Spain, among many other expulsions and destructions- all took place on this date.

The Rabbis see it as a day of karma for our sins, a cleansing on account of our collective sins. We spend the day in a type of reflection, of introspection, of lamenting our national tragedies - of learning from our past mistakes in a proactive application of Santayana's telling dictum.

So, back to the Jewish calendar a la Nostradamus and the Mayans....

The Jewish year is written out in letters. This coming Rosh Hashana will usher in the Hebrew year 5772 - Taf Shin Ayin Bet The year 2012, starting in late September, again, will be Taf Shin Ayin Bet. What's that spell? Tisha B'... You can fill in the Av!

The concept of "three is the charm" is reflected in the Jewish concept of "chazaka." Meaning strong, or locked in, it derives from the agrarian/nomadic notion that a triple threaded rope is stronger than a mere single or double threaded one. A sin performed three times is no longer considered a sin - in the eyes of the sinner, as noted by rabbinic psychology. So Nostradamus' or the Mayan's prophecies never really got under my skin, so to speak, until the final prophetic lock-in on the part of the ancient Hebrew calendar!

Before you jump out the window after reading these words, let us reflect on the fact that although it was a day of tragedy, it also often marked a turning point and launched a spiritual rejuvenation. After the Babylonian exile and destruction of the first Temple in 586 BCE, the Jewish people were cleansed, so to speak, of the pervasive sin of idolatry. A new era had begun.

The original ur-template for Tisha B'Av was the proverbial sin of the spies who scouted out the Land of Israel at Moses' behest. Returning with a negative report that they could never hope to conquer the land, and backed by the imprimatur of the congregational masses, a forty year national cleanse was enacted. Only those born in freedom, who had never submitted to the easy predictable comforts of slavery, would be privileged to enter the Land under Joshua's leadership. The older generation had to die out before the new one could fulfill their destiny.

2012 may indeed herald a year of cleansing for humanity as a whole. It may usher in a new era of radical awareness of our common humanity, a new era of recognition of the futility of an ethos of hatred and division, of separation from the heart of our Creator. Perhaps it may take a new world war to achieve this awareness. Or perhaps not. The messianic age, it is said, will be ushered in with kindness and ease, if we are deserving, or the opposite, CV"S, if not.

One antidote to our universal suffering can be found in the antidote to Jewish suffering. Our anti-venom must be shared with the world. Our sages teach that the second Temple fell owing to sinat chinam, causeless hatred, where we could not recognize the chein, or grace, or innate goodness of the other. Chinam is root related to chein. The antidote therefore is ahavat chinam, or causeless love, that we love each other for no reason, other than our shared humanity!

As all Jewry must embrace each other in our shared common heritage, so too all humankind must embrace the notion of our shared commonality and brotherhood. There is no future for a world that tolerates an encroaching dhimmitude and intolerance of the other as envisioned in the manifestation of a Judaeophobic, Christophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, salafistic sharia law worlview, and the subversion of Western liberal democratic ideals. Islamist domination is antithetical to the vision of a united humanity based on tolerance, harmony and pluralism.

The other antidote to our suffering depends on whether we preempt the possibility of a nuclear Iran. Anticipating the revelation of the 12th hidden Mahdi, whose appearance can only be heralded by the advent of a world in chaos, a nuclearized Iran would hardly refrain from attacking Israel either directly, or via their Hamas/Hezbollah proxies. Having stated such an aim, they can hardly be doubted in their desire to implement it, considering the precedent of their fingerprint in the ruins of the Israeli embassy as well as the the AMIA Hebrew Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, among others. While their own destruction would be guaranteed, no one can say that the Iranian leadership would shun the opportunity as being suicidal, for they embrace that as an ideal!

Our messianic ideal is a prophesied vision of a world in a state of peace and harmony, unified in a profound renewed awareness of G*d's presence in the world. This vision clashes with an alternative so-called ideal of domination and submission, intolerance and regression.

History is unravelling at warp speed as we speak. Either way, there will be a cleansing. How it unfolds and manifests is up to us.

Tzom Kal. Easy Fast!


© 2000 - 2011 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman
These words of Torah are written in the merit of my beloved father, Israel J. Melman, obm, Yisrael Yehoshua ben Harav Ya'aqov Hakohen Melman, z"l and in memory of my beloved mother, Esther Melman, obm, Esther bat Baruch z"l.


http://seferchabibi.blogspot.com/2007/07/yahrzeit-of-my-father-27-tammuz.html

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9506EEDC1630F93BA35754C0A9649C8B63


Chabibi stands for Chidushei Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua
(a chidush, from the word chadash, means a new, original or fresh perspective)

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About Me

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I played violin with Reb Shlomo and studied under him for over nine years at hundreds of concerts and learnings. Shlomo wanted to give me smicha before he passed. Deepest influences: My father,obm, who was a great scientist and human being, and my grandfather, obm, who was a great Torah scholar who was a musmach of the Mir Yeshiva and taught in Slobodka in Russia before WW1, and was also personal friends with the Chafetz Chaim and came to America in 1914. He knew the Talmud by heart! You could stick a pin in a word and he could tell you what word was on the other side! And my mother, Esther bat Baruch, z"l, who was a scholar of classical Hebrew and Tanach and who gave me a love for the language. And her mother, Anna (Sucher) Deutsch, who was born in Horodenka, spoke six languages, and shared her aged wisdom and eternal sweetness with me. I studied at Brandeis, Hebrew College, Pardes as well as seven years at The Metivta/ITJ earning my Advanced Semicha (yoreh yoreh)under Rav Halivni. What's truly amazing is that Shlomo and Rav Halivni each received semicha from Rav Hutner! But my deepest influences of them all are my sweetest sweetest girls who have taught me the most!