I am embarrassed to admit that I had a very pleasant Tisha B’Av this year. I know that it is the saddest day of the year and that we are mourning a tremendously great loss. We reflect upon how the Jewish people have still not gotten their act together to merit the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash. The Temple in Jerusalem But this year, even though all of those things are tragic and true, I was blessed with my Strudel, who kept me company and helped the fast go by very fast. Her parents did a wonderful job teaching her about the sadness of the day. “Mommy do not eat. Tatty do not eat.” She is so smart, my little Strudel.
We had many fun activities planned and Strudel was having a wonderful time. At one point, she said that she wanted to go outside. I said, “It is very hot outside.” “I go outside,” Strudel beckons to me. So we open the door, walk down the stairs, and Strudel looks up at me, with tremendous authority, and says, “Not hot, Babka.” She is a firecracker that one.
I had told Dil #1 that the only thing I needed to do that day was to go to a shiur that was titled, “I Hate that Guy.” I mean, how perfect a title is that? It was to be a conversation about sinat chinam, which means baseless hatred. I felt like the rabbi giving this shiur was doing it just for me. I was honored. Dil #1 was very excited that I was going to a shiur. It would not have mattered what the topic was — it was a Tisha B’Av miracle.
So after spending several hours coloring, building Legos, making a zoo out of Magnatiles, opening and closing nesting dolls, reading books, and other assorted activities, it was time for me to go and become spiritually enlightened. It was time for me to connect with God. And Son #3 was coming with me, either to keep me company, or because seeing me attend a shiur is like watching Halley’s Comet — it happens only every 75 years or so.
I was just happy to have him escort me there.
When we got to synagogue, I was a little disappointed with the turnout. In my opinion, it should have been a packed house. It was not. There were only about 15 to 20 people there; the majority were men. Which is ironic only because I think the whole baseless hatred thing occurs more with women than with men. But that is just my opinion, based on my experience.
The rabbi spoke beautifully and had very interesting sources. Apparently, the first Beit Hamikdash was destroyed for three reasons, one of which was murder. The second Beit Hamikdash was destroyed solely because of baseless hatred. How crazy is that? And yet, all these years later, people still cannot get along. They can’t say hello when they pass each other in the street, they can’t be nice to each other, they can’t make new people in a community feel welcome. Yes, I know there are exceptions and there a many wonderful people, but I think you get what I am trying to say.
So Son #3 and I are listening to the rabbi, and there are two people sitting in the back who cannot stop talking. They are just talking, talking, talking. At first, the rabbi thought they were asking him a question, since there was a small crowd, but no. They were just talking. Folks, it took everything in me to not stand up, walk over to them, and say, “Hey dudes — this is why the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed! Could ya please just stop talking?!?!?!?!?”
But I did not. I just tried to tune them out. Son #3 was very proud of me. And that was that. I tried very hard to smile and say “Good Shabbos” to every person I saw a few days later, trying to do my best to help bring the rebuilding of the Temple closer, and I am hoping that everyone else who was at that shiur will try to do their part as well.
But the problem is still those two guys sitting in the back. And the other problem is that fact that I am still thinking about those two guys sitting in the back.
Ugg, if only the rabbi would talk about that.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck feels she would be a better person all of the time if Strudel lived with her. Or if she ate more strudel. Either way might work.