Tisha b’Av: Finding the Good

July 19, 2018
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General, Spiritual Tools

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This Sunday is the holiday of Tisha B’Av or the Ninth of Av; a day know by the kabbalists to be the most negative day of the year. When a day is said to be “negative”, it refers to the energy and the levels of darkness that arise during that time. The Ninth of Av has earned this description as it has seen some of the most negative events in history. The destruction of the first and second Temples, the beginning of the first World War, and the signing of the Final Solution in Germany in 1942. I’m sure your next question is: why do we participate in such a painful day? That’s a good question with a good answer.

When the level of darkness is so high, it means that an equal amount of Light is also available to us if we seek to awaken it. The kabbalists say that what you can awaken on Tisha B’Av – the level of healing, assistance, Light, and blessings – is greater than any other day or time of the year.

Because so much darkness has occurred on this day and because this day has that potential to possess so much darkness, it must also have the potential for the greatest light. This means that we have the opportunity to harness and reveal that Light, and it all depends on consciousness.

Every challenge that we experience comes to us for a very specific reason, and that reason is your transformation. This goes for even the most tragic of events. Just as the level of darkness must equal the level of Light, so too must the breakdown match the breakthrough. It is a tall order to try to see painful experiences as good but think for a moment about a time in your life that was incredibly challenging. I bet there is a silver lining. Thinking in terms of our own lives might be hard, so take a look at three tragedies that no one would have ever thought, at the time, would bring anything positive:

The Blitz

In the early 1940’s, the United Kingdom became the primary target of the Luftwaffe’s infamous bombing campaign, known as The Blitz. In the course of nine months, bombs were dropped over the UK resulting in unprecedented damage and death. While it was a time of unspeakable fear, death, and loss, it precipitated the country to come together and create a government program to take care of its citizens in times of disaster and need.

Not only did the UK provide aid and sustenance to the displaced and injured, but childcare centers were opened for mothers who were working and contributing to the war effort, and medicines were made readily available to everyone who needed them. This program would go on to become the foundation of Britain’s modern healthcare system.</p>

The Great Fire of Chicago

In 1871, a fire overtook the heart of Chicago burning it to ash and leaving a third of its 334,000 occupants homeless. It has since been regarded as one of the greatest disasters in American history. However, many historians credit the fire as the catalyst that created the Chicago that exists today.

Prior to this event, Chicago was a cramped, poorly planned, and ineffective city. The fire gave them the chance to rebuild, and the new restructuring plan gave rise to the metropolis that Chicago would become, laying plans for the famous skyline and constructing the now beloved lakefront.

We never know in the moment the good that will arise from the ashes. But we can have knowledge that it is there. The Kabbalists teach that very often in order to get to the fulfillment we seek, we have to go through a difficult process of transformation—one where we transform our desire to receive for the self alone into a desire to share. That process is not always an easy one.

As you connect to Tisha B’Av, move into a state of gratitude for all of the trials that have made you who you are today. Every difficulty arises for a reason. Every challenge is here to help you in some way. When we look at a painful experience with this consciousness, we open our eyes and hearts to the good that is inherent within that experience. We may not be able to see it or define it, but we can know that it’s there. Waiting to be revealed, waiting to unfold, waiting for our awareness.

THOUGHT INTO ACTION

Choose one experience from your life that you would define as tragic or difficult. Make a list of all of the positive things that happened as a result of this experience. It can even be that it softened your judgments of others, it gave you a renewed sense of self-love, or it paved the way for an incredible blessing to come into your life.


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Comments

  1. Hi Monica! This year TishaBAv is on Saturday not Sunday. Can you please explain why you moved the 9th of Av to the 10th of Av? How is it possible to move days?

    • Hello Jenni! Thank you for asking. The sages explain that the positive energy of Shabbat supersedes the energy of the 9th of Av, and it is therefore delayed until after Shabbat ends. During years when the 9th of Av falls on Shabbat, we make the 9th of Av Connections on the 10th. It is said that the Holy Temple continued burning into the 10th day of Av, so this energy is still present for us to connect to. Since fasting is one of the main tools for connecting with the energy of this holiday and we do not fast on Shabbat, this delaying of the connections allows us to connect to Shabbat and the 9th of Av as well.

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