Our children are watching, listening and learning. Because Tisha B’Av falls in the summer, we would argue that children learn more about the tenor of the day from their parents than from any other source.
We can worry out loud about the discomfort of the fast. We can compare it to the difficult day of Yom Kippur. But we have to make sure that when we say Eicha, when we sit on uncomfortable floors and when we get thirsty late on Sunday afternoon, we have to let the meaning of the day transcend the separate parts of our sacrifices and that our children understand that the day is uncomfortable, sad and somber because it is part of our shared experience as Jews and a key part of our link in the chain to our ancestors, many of whom observed Tisha B’Av in much the same way.
Tisha B’Av has to be an opportunity to share our plight with all Jews who have lived without the Temple. It’s an opportunity for us to think about our redemption and its rebuilding. We hope that we can get it right, not just for ourselves, but also for our children, grandchildren and future generations so that they may merit the privilege of Hashem’s Temple.
What we take away from this day should be part of the entire balance of Jewish life, where heartfelt joy partners with gut-wrenching sadness, and where the two are joined by a life of Torah, civility, education and chesed. And the belief that our lives, filled with mitzvot, will contribute toward the rebuilding of our Temple.
So let’s come out of Tisha B’Av differently, perhaps, than in years past. Let your spouse, your parents, your friends and especially your children see that your Jewish soul is inextricably tied to Hashem. We pray that this Tisha B’Av, these Nine Days and Three Weeks, will perhaps lead ourselves and our children to the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, speedily in our days.