Friday, July 9, 2010

Remembering the destruction of the Temple

Today is the 27th of Tamuz, 5770

Immediately after the Temple was destroyed the rabbis of the time established a number of traditions that should be kept year round to remember that our Temple is still in ruins.
For instance, the Rabbis established that (I'm quoting from Meam Loez) "If one sees any of the cities of Yehuda that were destroyed, even if it is rebuilt now and Jews live there, he should say "Your holy cities have become desolated…One should weep with a bitter heart and say Psalm of Asaf (79). Then he should say the blessing Barukh ata …. dayan haemet and tear his clothing as in mourning."

Contemporary rabbis discussed the application of this last tradition--tearing one's clothes. Should we still tear our clothes in mourning when we see the ruins of the Bet haMikdash and the Western Wall-- or, because today we have our state and we govern ourselves this tradition should not be mandatory anymore?

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef says that one should tear his garments when seeing the Kotel. Personally, I used to follow this tradition. If I did not see the Kotel for 30 days, I would do Keri'a upon seeing it. Lately, though, I found a way –also suggested by Rabbi Obadia-- to avoid the Machloket by visiting the Kotel first on Shabbat or Rosh Chodesh. The holiness/happiness of Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh overrides the custom of mourning.

May we all see Yerushalaim and our Holy Temple rebuild in our days!

Shabbat Shalom from the old City of Yerushalaim!