Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
This Shabbat – the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av – is called Shabbat Hazon or the Shabbat of Vision. Here are some words of Rav Yoni Lavi that are meant to connect our hearts to these days before Tisha B’Av:
“We define the tragedy of Tisha B’Av incorrectly when we think of the Holy Temple’s destruction merely as destruction of a building. It was not just a building that was destroyed but a totally different and unique reality. Today we are accustomed to think that whatever happened in the past is something we can learn about and even experience on some level. But the Holy Temple was something else entirely.
Think about a spiritual center to which the heart of every person was inextricably attached. It is difficult to understand how much we lack, how much we should be missing an experience we never had. We are like poor people who do not know they are poor and how rich they could be. We travel along in our cars in first gear when we are meant to be flying. We strive to experience holiness for brief moments while Jerusalem was once a holy city in every moment, and for everyone.
Today everything is upside down. Physical reality seems like absolute truth while spiritual reality is hidden.
Imagine people in a world where marriage is nothing more than sending a weekly text message and talking on the phone once a month. And that’s called marriage. People don’t know that there are other levels of connection, deeper and more meaningful, but they also don’t know that it is even possible – and necessary for their own benefit – to want more. We, too, every year during the month of Av, need to strive to dream, to imagine, and to desire more. The month of Av is like the glass broken at our weddings that reminds us of how much more we must do, that reality is not yet perfect or complete.”