Jewish date: 10 ’Av 5772 (Parashath Wa’ethḥannan).
Today’s holidays: The Fast of ’Av (Judaism), Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of St. Brigham Young (Church of the SubGenius), Feast of Paschal Beverly Randolph (Thelema), Stikklestad Day (Germanic Neopaganism).
Today is the Fast of ’Av, the culmination of the Three Weeks and Nine Days commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temple.
Last week I posted “משטרת ישראל היא לא גרועה כמו קודם • The Israeli Police suck less than before”, which is about my visit to the Temple Mount last Sunday. Ideally I would have liked to go today, but I am afraid to do much of anything outside during fast days due to dehydration and overheating, which are serious concerns in the summer. (Especially the summer in Israel, which is hot and dry. Even more especially during the summer in Israel feeling the effects of global warming, which make me not want to leave my apartment more than absolutely necessary.) However, some brave souls do attempt to visit the Temple Mount on fast days. It has been reported on Facebook that a large number of Jews showed up to ascend to the Temple Mount this morning, only to be turned away because the police decided to pander to Islamic supremacism rather than do their jobs. I therefore declare the police to have increased their level of suck, and I encourage everyone to let the government, political parties, and anyone else relevant to know.
On the Fast of Tammuz, I posted “Pathological mourning”, arguing that we should not be ritually mourning as an end in itself, but, like all mourning, should be a means towards moving on and rebuilding the Temple. I am not the only one who thinks mourning should not be an end in itself. “Next Year in Jerusalem — Maybe”, “What Are We Fasting For?”, and “Ninth of Av Message on Moving to Israel – Rabbi Beryl Wein, Rabbi Zev Leff and Rabbi Shalom Gold” all argue for making ‘aliyyah (immigration to Israel).
And they have a point. The destruction of both Temples was accompanied by exile. The Hebrew Bible has an ideal that the Jewish people should live in Israel and YHWH promises that we will return. However, we have done a lousy job of this. The Book of Ezra records that when the Persian Emperor Koresh (Cyrus) allowed the Jews to return and rebuild the Temple, very few did so. We are doing a better job today (about 50% of the way there), but life in the West is still rather comfortable, and it is easy even for religious Jews to put off moving to Israel indefinitely. I know. I used to be that way. Food for thought.