I’m in love again!
Before I got married, a family member told me that “marriage would be the most difficult thing I would work on in my life, but it would be the most rewarding”.
I thought about this, this week as we observed Tisha B’Av, the day which commemorates the destruction of the two Batay Mikdashos – Temples – in Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish People. The destruction of Jerusalem is much more than a commemoration of an event of the past. It is really about all the suffering of our People through the ages, and it fundamentally challenges our faith and our relationship with G-d.
Although not as volatile as personal relationships (my personal experience) , in many ways the relationship with G-d is the most difficult relationship to work on. The reason for this is that with Human relationships, there is always an option to walk away from it. Additionally, you can have two-way intellectual rational discussions, debates or all out fights to discuss the issues that bother you in the relationship. With G-d it’s typically a one sided conversation.
In the prayers we recite in the Kinos during the day of Tisha B’Av, we find straight forward complaints to G-d of His abandonment of us during the time of the destruction and subsequently in later times (eg. the Holocaust).
When one thinks about it, one can’t help but become infuriated, angry, sad, and any number of very raw and real emotions about our relationship with G-d. All of that is very very real!
The previous Rebbe once said; “if a Jew tells you that they don’t believe (in G-d), don’t believe them”.
What can we do that we are” believers children of believers”? When the anger subsides we are left with an equally real relationship deep inside of us with G-d Almighty!
How do we reconcile these glaring and painful paradoxical emotions?
This Shabbos is called Shabbos Nachamu – Shabbos of comfort. It is so called because of the double words opening the Haftorah – Nachamu Nachamu Ami – “comfort comfort My people”.
When the paradox becomes unbearable we return to the Divine embrace, recognizing that we are limited in finite human comprehension but taking warmth in the reassuring arms of Hashem that He does know what’s best and that He is in control of the situation and always has been.
We take comfort in the promise made thousands of years ago that He will send the righteous Moshiach to ease our wounds, make the pain go away, restore us to our original state of greatness and never again will we know sadness.
So this Shabbos, is a time to celebrate, celebrate our relationship with G-d, that relationship that is often times so hard to reconcile, but the relationship we can’t live without (literally) and in our celebration we will experience the coming of Moshiach now!