The interview centered on the meaning of the solemn day and particularly the meaning of the fast which is observed during the day.
“First of all I will mention the Rambam, who says that the purpose of fasts in the Jewish world is to inspire us to repent for those sins that led to the destruction of the Temple,” said Rabbi Druckman. “The halakhic work Chayei Adam completes the words of the Rambam and tells us that those days are meant for repentance.
“I will speak the truth from my aching heart,” he added. “I always used to say that we must mourn the destruction of the Temple which was destroyed because of baseless hatred and still the devil of hatred is among us. I used to say that we need to increase our love for one another.”
He added, however, “The First Temple was destroyed because of idolatry, incest and bloodshed, and I thought these things had passed from the Jewish world and we need to only mention the reason for which the Second Temple was destroyed. But I admit that I now see a need to talk about the reasons that the First Temple was destroyed - killing and bloodshed.
“I’m not just talking about the murder of Rabbi Elazar, even though we certainly have to cry over this murder,” stressed Rabbi Druckman. “I’m talking about all the murders, about the fact that a person can take a knife and stab another. It’s unbelievable.”
Rabbi Druckman said that despite the disagreements, everyone must learn how to live together.
“It’s true that there are differences of opinion, but we need to be like a family, where there are biological brothers who have a completely different world view – be it secular, religious, right or left – and still love each other,” he said. “Our reality is terrible. If there is someone who is not exactly like me then I’m not talking to that person – that means we have so much to do.”
He added that Tisha B’Av “is the root of all our troubles should and this day should cause all of us a positive shock, to repent, whether for the reasons for the destruction of the First Temple and certainly for the reasons for the destructions of the Second Temple.”
Rabbi Druckman said that there is no such concept of ‘free love.’
“Rav Kook said that the Second Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred but that the Third Temple will be built on love,” he said. “When people came to him to complain that he loved Jews who are not worthy of love, he said: ‘You say that I failed? Better to fail with free love than with free hatred.’ Based on his words I want to add that baseless hatred can occur but there is no such thing as free love - all Jews are worthy of love.”
He concluded by saying, “Of course this day should inspire us to correct and repent and we will hopefully continue to move forward with the process of our salvation.”