Va’etchanan-Tisha B’Av 5762-2002

"Loving the Land of Israel"

One of the kinot, the liturgical poems that are read on Tishah B'Av, speaks of the calamity that befell the Jewish communities of the Rhineland, Germany--Worms, Speyer and Mainz (Mayence)--in the year 1096 during the First Crusade. The ArtScroll commentary on this poem throws out a profound challenge to the Jewish people today. Will we rise to the occasion and acknowledge the special gift of the land of Israel, or will we ignore it, and continue to compose elegies for the losses that we sustain?

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5762-2002

"Judging our People Favorably"

The powerful words of Isaiah in this week's Haftorah resound today with surprising relevance, as if they were pronounced only yesterday. Despite Isaiah's harsh assessment of the people, we, like the prophet of old, need to look upon the people of Israel and judge them favorably. After all, contemporary Jews face similar challenges to those of the ancients and need to be judged favorably as well.

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