There are plenty of things in the world today for us to worry
about. There is the general decline in morality of the West,
which expresses itself in so many areas. The West is
certainly sliding down a very slippery slope that can only
end very unpleasantly, and we have at least an obligation to
There is the resurgent antisemitism that plagues our brethren
virtually throughout the world -- in some places it is worse
There are the perennial problems such as the test of poverty
and the test of wealth -- one or the other affects just about
every Jew today.
There are of course the political and diplomatic problems of
the State of Israel, as well as its military and economic
problems, which are of interest and concern to all of us.
This is only a superficial and not an exhaustive list, but it
shows that we have plenty to worry about all year long.
However in this period, we forget about all our other burdens
to focus on our central loss: the destruction of the Beis
Just as when one suffers, Rachmono litzlan, a deep and
sharp personal loss of a loved one, the mitzvah and the
inclination is to forget about everything else in the world
and to focus exclusively on the loss for an initial period
during the day of death, burial and the subsequent
shiva, so during the Three Weeks and especially on
Tisha B'Av we focus on the Churban of the Beis
The whole period is pervaded by our loss. During the first
nine days of Av we do not eat meat nor drink wine to recall
and feel the loss of the avodoh in the Beis
Hamikdosh of which meat and wine was an integral part. On
Tisha B'Av itself, all the special laws and customs of the
day are designed to force us to focus on our mourning without
As with mourning a person, our sense of loss is focused on
the nonmaterial aspects that were lost to us. If it is a
person, we miss his or her spirit and soul which was housed
in a body but was so much more. Our grief does not lead us to
exhume the body, nor should our sorrow over the loss of the
Beis Hamikdosh lead us to pray on the Har Habayis
(where we risk an issur koreis).
Rather we must ache at the loss of the direct connection with
Heavenly realms that we had through the Beis Hamikdosh.
It was the center of our lives and its presence made all
the difference in the world. And our ache at our spiritual
loss should spur us to seek spiritual ends.
Our obligation at this time is to strengthen ourselves in
Torah and yir'oh, to perfect our own middos and
to perform ma'asim tovim.
There is no single "hot button" that we can push to restore
things. We must work on improvement in all areas, as
prescribed by the Torah.
If we do our work properly, we will find that by ignoring all
our other problems and concentrating on what Chazal tell us
to concentrate on during this period, we will actually make
more progress on solving them than if we had worried about
We end our reading of Eichoh: Hashiveinu Hashem eilecho
venoshuvoh, chadeish yomeinu kekedem. We wish to renew
the spiritual glory of yesteryear, and the problems of the
world will take care of themselves.