Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
For me, Tisha B'Av symbolizes the terrible riots the people of Israel experienced on this date, including the attempt to erase any Jewish reference to the Land of Israel and Jerusalem by Hadrian the Roman emperor.
These events, along with the destruction of the First and Second Temples, have turned Tisha B'Av into a memorial candle which will never be forgotten.
(Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau is the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv and the former chief rabbi of Israel)
For me, Tisha B'Av is a day filled with demagogy about the destruction of the Temple and the reasons for the destruction. For example, the hate which was followed by the Temple's destruction was not baseless hate, as there were very justified and good reasons: The zealots did crazy times during that period – murdered the rival leaders and burned the food storerooms – so no there's no wonder they were hated.
(Yossi Sarid is the former education minister, a writer and journalist)
Why is Tisha B'Av stuck in the middle of the summer break? The result is that for Tisha B'Av one must make an effort, and that's the nice thing about it.
Tisha B'Av comes after three weeks in which everyone is outside vacationing and feeling free, while one must remember the destruction of the Temple and the reasons for the fact that it was never rebuilt. With all the difficulties in mourning in the shadow of a summer day, almost every year I find something around us reminding us of another destruction, of something else that must be repaired.
This year it's the social protest. The Haftarah sections were read on Shabbat from the Book of Isaiah, which describe Jerusalem on the eve of the destruction, a society discriminating against the weak, need no interpretation.
If we succeed this year, as a society, to understand that this is our real foundation, that there is nothing left without it, we will have made a great reform.
(Sarah Beck is a Channel 2 journalist)
For me, Tisha B'Av is deep grief from places I never knew I had, in my heart and soul. The grief is over the fact that there is such an exile from the truth, from the good, from the happiness, from the fact that we don't see eye to eye. I shed tears over the baseless hate, the inability to accept each other among religious and secular, among Sephardim and Ashkenazim.
If we had a temple here, everything would have been clearer to everyone and there would be less confusion. On this day I try to think of ways to add to baseless love, add some good to this world, improve things within myself in order to create a better world.
(Golan Azulai is a singer and actor)
Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz
I remember the special atmosphere on the eve of Tisha B'Av, when I studied at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva and we would read the Book of Lamentations. Afterwards, at dawn, we would go pray at the Western Wall.
Today I read the Book of Lamentations at the synagogue, and sometimes give lessons to young people about the meaning of destruction. But in any event, Tisha B'Av has always been a day of self-examination for me.
(Daniel Hershkowitz is the science and technology minister)
Dr. Aliza LaviFor me, Tisha B'Av is a family meeting at my grandmother's back yard in Jerusalem's Bukharian Neighborhood. All of us – dozens of grandchildren of all ages, would sit together on the floor, and then, after the final meal before the fast, we would walk to the Western Wall – the same walk I take with my children these days.
I must say that there is not just one type of a population marching to the Wall, but everyone. I think it's simply because people like to touch.
One of the expressions of the desire to touch is the social protest taking place these days, in which people talk to groups which they have only read about in the newspaper until now. I feel that something is happening here, that a different type of dialogue is developing between the different groups in Israel, which seek to get to know each other and change the culture discourse in our region.
(Aliza Lavi is an academic)
Dr. Zvi ZameretFor me, Tisha B'Av is a day of self-examination on baseless hate and mutual respect. I am troubled by the fact that there are very stereotypical approaches within us, which are stuck to different parts of the public and different people. There are worrying generalizations, which divide the different parts of the population and cause them to drift apart.
As I have often dealt with settling arguments, I am very troubled by the issue of factionalism and arguments from within. Even today, as part of my role at the Education Ministry, one of the questions I deal with is how to connect to each other and care for each other.
(Dr. Zvi Zameret is a historian and a senior Education Ministry official)
For me, Tisha B'Av is the "national day of self-examination". It's a memorial for the destruction of the Temple and the meaning of today's national home.
Is the declaration of boycotts a legitimate weapon? Will the social protest strengthen or weaken our society? My personal response is that clarifying disagreements and implementing their conclusions is necessary. The loss of mutual guarantee will bring about the destruction of our national home.
(Major-General (Res.) Uzi Dayan is the State Lottery chairman)
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