Translated by Yehoshua Siskin
Here's a thought that someone in the North sent to me:
"I feel these days like the member of a special club. In the world outside, it's the height of summer, the hottest time of year, with many public gatherings, events, and parties. But regarding us, strange people like us - the nation of Israel - during these days, our pulse is different. We do not get married during this period, we do not shave or cut our hair, we do not swim in the sea or in the pool, and in several more days our mourning will reach its climax on Tisha B'Av.
At first glance, this does look strange. But, on second thought, this is an amazing process which seems unprecedented among the nations: Each year during this time, we renew our mourning for everything that is lacking and defective, for all our difficulties and troubles, as we are reminded of historical lessons and ponder how we can rectify, make amends, and improve ourselves.
Just like a reminder on our cellular phones that will beep at the appropriate time, the nation of Israel created a yearly reminder for itself thousands of years ago, ever since the destruction of the Holy Temple. Mourning customs are only a reminder, only a means, not an end. For thousands of years we have yearned for more and we will not stop until we fulfill all the wonderful prophecies and all the great promises that were spoken regarding us. This perfect dream must come to pass, hopefully in our generation. It depends on us."