Monday, July 25, 2005

17 Tammuz

Now I know this is the job for say why G-d does things when He does, and all that, but allow me to share my thoughts.

I believe that these London bombings were timed perfectly for us Jews. The fact that America is now under high alert, and inspecting bags at the train station, shows us that we can never feel safe in the arms of the Amim Lo HaNivcharim. It was now, many years ago, that Eretz Yisrael was surrounded and the Bais HaMikdash was soon to be destroyed.

I was considering taking a train to my father's office in Manhattan, when I thought, "Everyone says, 'it won't happen to me,' yet somehow it happens..." and all that nervous jabber. So I decided not to go by train. That got me thinking that maybe G-d is reminding us what time of year this is. The people in Eretz Yisrael certainly could not feel safe then, so we are reminded of what they went through on a smaller, different scale. That's serious stuff.

Which brings me to my next point. During Sefira, I wrote about A Cappella music. I won't recycle that, but it is recommended reading. But as I think more about the three weeks and its severity, I think listening to A Cappella is really insensitive. No matter how addicted you are to music, you'll manage for three weeks. (If you need it in the car to stay awake and not kill 100s of others on the road, you might as well listen to the real stuff)

When adults listen to A Capella during the three weeks, I wonder their spirituality is. I say "adults" because until recently, I was selfish enough to listen once in a while during the Three Weeks, because I was young and I don't think I quite understood the depth of the situation. Now I try to use that to stop myself from listening, which I know is a real challenge. Especially since it feels like Sefira just ended yesterday.

Another thing about 17 Tammuz. (It's just easier to write it that way) I know fasting is really really hard and exhausting--especially in the Summer with the fear of dehydration. I only made it till a little past 6:00 last night when I finally caved.

(I don't know if the following applies to men, but) I have become aware of a common pastime on fasts, which is to watch movies. Does anyone else see the glaring clash in this?? You're fasting, which is something extremely spiritual- you are supposed to be staying away from Gashmius, and with movies you're feeding yourself with Gashmius and oh, so much more great stuff for your Neshama...So my question is, is it better (as a woman) to break your fast at 6, and not watch any movies, or to stick it out till 9:05 and swoon over Brad Pitt or Orlando Bloom all day? I exclude men from this, because based on my limited knowledge, I think it is more chamur for men to fast all day, and if watching a movie (with no pritzus of course--good luck finding that) is the only way he can manage, I'd say that's better than stuffing his face at 6:00. That's for today.

When it comes to Tisha B'Av, both men and women are required to make it all day. Going outside is not an option. Although the day is more serious, the fact that you don't have that hetter to rely on, I guess there are few better options.

Now, I know some smart alecks are going to say, "well if movies are that bad all year, why do people (namely, me) watch them all year..." That's a separate issue right now, yet I understand that movies are not good to begin with.


At 7/25/2005 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" because based on my limited knowledge, I think it is more chamur for men to fast all day"

What?! I didn't know you were pregant?!

Where did you come up with this that you can break your fast because of fear of dehydration? Puleeez.
I expected more from you. And you are complaining about music which is only a minhag. Girl, get your priorities strait.

At 7/25/2005 9:56 AM, Anonymous cockroach said...

"I believe these London bombings were timed perfectly for the jews."

How do you know? And if so, why didn't G-d do it on the fast day itself, for the full drama and effect?

Ultimately, it's not for us to read too much into these things. As we heard yesterday by Mincha, "ki lo machshivosai machshivosaichem v'lo darchaychem d'rochoi" - "My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways." Why God did things when he did them, we cannot know. According to this logic, maybe 9/11 should've happened on rosh hashana. it's not worth thinking about this timing stuff.

That said, any tragedy, whenever it happens, is a message for Jews. A bombing in shevat is as much a call for teshuva as a bombing in tammuz, ellul, or whatever month it happens to be. May it be G-d's will that these will be the days of redemption, and we will suffer no more.

At 7/25/2005 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That brings up a good question - if the only way one can fast is by watching movies, then does fasting (+ movies) constitute a mitzvah habo'oh ba'avaira?

At 7/26/2005 7:30 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

anonymous #1--care to take it up with 3 Rabbis that explained that women need not risk dehydration and other dangers for the fasts other than Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av?

cockroach--you certainly have a point. My thoughts on the timing are just my own interpretation. I guess I've been in Seminary too many years, because they always make connections like that. Then again, they are Rabbanim, and I'm a teenager in my basement.
And Amen.

Anonymous #2--That's a really good question. That's basically what I was saying in my wordy, convoluded way. I'm too shy to ask a Rabbi, but if you get an answer, I'd love if you'd post it! Thanks.

At 7/26/2005 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which three? Me, myself,& I ?

At 7/26/2005 6:32 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

For their own safety, (since you sounds quite hostile) I will not mention their names, however, they were 3 Rabbis in 3 different places, and there are many others that have heard similar.

As for my statement about it being more chamur for men, some have mentioned to me (in a more civilized manner) that it also may be okay for men to break their fasts on these days, and I am awaiting a Rabbinic response.

I still stand by my statement regarding movies on fast days.

At 8/01/2005 5:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually it's not a job for rabannim either.

At 8/01/2005 6:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While its not for us to say for certain WHY something happens, it is proper to view all events with the perspective of "why did this calamity befall us... what can we do to better ourselves.etc.. The concept is brought down by Rabbeinu Yonah in Sharei Teshuva so the kat makes a good point once again.
As far as your issue with A cappela, I gotta find the post, cause voices itself is Not Assur,and we dont listen to klei zemer because it IS assur - simple as that. We do not add chumrus in yiddishkeit(in the guise of being assur), thats dangerous - Unless your objection is to the sheer nuisance of it, in which case I COMPLETELY agree with you, it should be banned.


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