> Holidays > Tisha BAv > The Holy Temple

A Letter to My Beloved on Tisha B’Av

July 28, 2016 | by Rabbi Yisroel Gelber

I desperately yearn for the day we can reconcile and rebuild our home.

My Dear Beloved,

I miss you. Every summer, as the weather warms, I feel a loneliness deep in my heart. I think back to the days when we used to be together in one home. We were so close. You would protect me and look out for my every need. When I needed to feel your love or seek your guidance, I knew exactly where to turn. You allowed me to give to you in a way that brought us closeness. I sacrificed for you and you knew it. There was an unbreakable trust between us. Knowing you were with me brought me great joy.

But over time I disappointed you and I let you down. What was important to you was not important to me. I became self-centered and distant. You lost your trust in me and I lost my trust in you. Eventually you had me leave our home, so I could not return and life has never been the same. I felt your anger towards me. It has been a very painful struggle. The love and clarity I once had has vanished. Each time I walk by the site of our old home, I am flooded with memories of a different life.

I want you to know that I have not for one second forgotten about our relationship, and I am trying to change. I have worked on opening myself up and learning how to have a real relationship. I want to be better, even though the dark world I now inhabit sometimes obscures my vision and makes this effort so very hard. At the same time, it has allowed me to become stronger and in made me realize I can be who you believe I can be.

I am trying… and I am crying out to you again. I desperately yearn for the day we can reconcile and rebuild our home.

Please know I have changed. I am not the same as I was before. Please give me another chance. Please rebuild Your Temple so we can dwell there together again, forever.

Your Beloved,

The Jewish People

Tisha B’Av

The Jewish people experienced a special bond with the Almighty when the Bais Hamikdash, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, existed. During this period, the Jewish nation received unique Divine countenance and protection.

The letter then moves to the pain of the separation and the pain of viewing the Kotel (Western Wall) which was the sight of the Temple. The two Temples were destroyed and the Jewish people went into exile, scattered throughout the world and distanced from the Almighty. The Talmud explains the root cause of this destruction – the Jews’ practice of "sinas chinam'" (baseless hatred) among themselves. The Jews experienced a time of great darkness, dislocation and disconnection from God that continues to this very day as we witness the rise of global anti-Semitism, alienation and assimilation.

We beg for reconciliation with our Beloved – God Himself, this healing reflected in the rebuilding of the holy Temple in Jerusalem where God’s Presence will once again dwell.

The Hebrew month of Av, a month representing the mourning of the Temples’ destruction, precedes Elul – the month of repentance that proceeds Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. “Av” (spelled Aleph Bais) can be read as a Hebrew acronym for “Elul ba” – “the month of Elul is approaching,” Feeling the pain of separation and longing for our rightful return is an emotional and spiritual precursor to heartfelt repentance. When we experience the lack and yearn for its removal, we atone for rupturing our relationship and make ourselves ready for reconciliation.


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