Monday, 14 July 2014

Bein ha-Metzarim

"This is why I weep  and my eyes overflow with tears. No-one is here to comfort me , no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute  because the enemy has prevailed ". Lamentations, 1:  16

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Bein ha-Metzarim or the 3 weeks. This is a period of solemn reflection, where we do not eat poultry or red meat, listen to music or generally undertake pleasurable activities or joyous occasions such as marriages (although we are to still to celebrate Shabbat with joy) . This period  begins and ends with fasting; with the fast of 17th of Tammuz and ends with the fast of the 9th Av (in Judaism that means no food or water).  The purpose of this time one of commemorating the various catastrophies that have befallen the Jewish people during ourstory, including the breaking of the Tablets of the Law by Moses, when he saw the nation  worshipping the golden calf; the burning of a Sefer Torah by Apostomus during the Second Temple era; the destruction of both Temples; the expulsion of Sephardi  Jews from Spain in 1492, the outbreak of World War I  1914, which overturned many Jewish communities and last, but definitely not least, the Shoah.

My own reflections are twofold 

1) Does blogging constitute a pleasurable activity and should we therefore stop during these 3 weeks?

2) I  do not know why Jews have suffered so much, but I do know that it is important to remember and reflect on these dreadful times & to observe the fasts and this festival. I also know  that   G-d is great in his faithfulness. Our song is not yet done.. Our song continues . Our song is beautiful.

"Because of the L-rd's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail . They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness . I say to myself the L-rd is my portion; therefore I will wait for him"  
Lamentations 3 , 22 -24 

"Return, O Israel, to the L-rd your G-d,
for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
Take words with you
and return to the L-rd;
say to him,

“Take away all guilt;
accept that which is good

and we will offer
the fruit of our lips.
Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride upon horses;
we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.”

I will heal their disloyalty;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily,
he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon.

His shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive tree,
and his fragrance like that of Lebanon.
They shall again live beneath my shadow,
they shall flourish as a garden;
they shall blossom like the vine,
their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
your faithfulness comes from me.

Those who are wise understand these things;
those who are discerning know them.
For the ways of the L-rd are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them."

Hosea 14

"I remember my covenant with Jacob; I will remember also my covenant with Isaac and also my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land... Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, or abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them; for I am the L-rd their G-d; I will remember in their favour the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, to be their G-d: I am the L-rd".
Leviticus 26: 42-45 


  1. HI David,

    Thanks for sharing this one with us. I personally think no posting on the 2 fast days and somber reflective posts during the 3 weeks, except for our Shabbat threads. Does that sound like a plan?

  2. Sounds good. I did ask the Rav and he wasn't sure. I'm not sure either.So as an ecumenical gesture I've asked sister tibs.

  3. Thanks for the Bible verses and thoughts bro! Great!

  4. I'd say don't post tomorrow or the 9th Av. Continue posting thoughtful blogging in between.

  5. I liked the Bible quotations; moving and uplifting at the same time. Just goes to show the divinity of our Bible.

  6. Oh and keep blogging. Looks like you already are though (:


Comments aren't pre-moderated. Try and keep things civil. See our comments section for further details.