Tisha B'Av

Hate and Love and Tisha b’Av

As our traditional three weeks of mourning culminated with Tisha b’Av and its commemoration of destruction last Saturday night, our nation is still reeling from the horrors of yet more unbearable acts of gun violence, at least one motivated by racial hatred.  Jews, Muslims, African Americans, members of the LGBTQ community and immigrants have all been targets of hateful rhetoric and violent, hateful acts. So many people across the country and the globe are feeling unsafe, afraid and traumatized.  On Wednesday a Boulder man was arrested who the FBI are treating as a potential domestic terrorist targeting Jews, Muslims and immigrants. It is terrifying.

The rabbis teach that even though it was the Romans who destroyed the Second Temple in the year 70, the energetic force that allowed the destruction was sinat chinam, causeless hatred between Jew and Jew.  Rav Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Palestine, said that the only way to conquer sinat chinam is through ahavat chinam, causeless love to drown out the causeless hatred.  We see and hear the hate everywhere; it is loud and unbearable and comes from the highest places. 

Yes, we need to demand more of our elected officials to pass sensible gun laws and yes we need to protest against injustice and hate crimes; yes we need to do all we can to keep our institutions safe.  And this hour is also demanding of us that we speak to and about each other with words of love, beginning in our own families and communities and extending into all communities, whatever they believe and whoever they love.  Whatever rituals, fasting and services we performed on this day of commemoration, that simple act is the deepest spiritual work of Tisha b’Av. 

May we be creative and courageous in transforming hatred into love.

About Rabbi Marc Soloway

Marc is a native of London, England where he was an actor and practitioner of complimentary medicine before training as a rabbi in London, Jerusalem and Los Angeles. He was ordained at the Ziegler School of Rabbinical Studies at the American Jewish University in 2004 and has been the the spiritual leader at Bonai Shalom in Boulder ever since. Marc was a close student of Rabbi Zalman Schechter Shalomi and received an additional smicha (rabbinic ordination) from him in 2014, just two months before he died. He has been the host and narrator of two documentary films shown on PBS; A Fire in the Forest: In Search of the Baal Shem Tov and Treasure under the Bridge: Pilgrimage to the Hasidic Masters of Ukraine. Marc is a graduate of the Institute of Jewish Spirituality, a fellow of Rabbis Without Borders, has traveled to Ghana in a rabbinic delegation with American Jewish World Service and co-chair of the Rabbinical Council and national board member of Hazon, which strives to create more sustainable Jewish communities. In 2015, Marc was among a group of 12 faith leaders honored at The White House as “Champions of Change” for work on the climate. Marc is a proud member of Beit Izim, Boulder’s Jewish goat milking co-op.

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