'A nation without a past is one without a future'

The Rabbi of Tel Aviv explains the significance of Tisha B'Av, Israel's 'national day of mourning,' taking place today.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
Yoni Kempinski

The Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, sent out a message explaining the significance of Tisha B'Av, Israel's 'national day of mourning,' taking place today, and emphasized the day's timeless relevance.

"Tisha B'Av, the national day of mourning, a day of fasting, thousands of years old [...] Sad and terrible things happened to us on this day.

"Sometimes people ask, 'does this day still have significance for us? [After all, many terrible things have happened to us since then!] The Holocaust, other things...therefore they open up the restaurant, they go lounge about outside on the main streets on this day of national mourning! Even Napoleon was in awe of how the Jews had remembered this day for 1,800 years.

"Maybe one, God forbid, passed trauma in his life, and went on to see blessing and success. But when the day comes to unite with the memories, you remember. The Holocaust is an inseparable part of the story of Tisha B'Av.

"Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin had wanted to establish that Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Day in Remembrance of Fallen IDF Soldiers both take place on Tisha B'Av. He had a historical and national outlook, and understood that this day is a focal point of all the suffering, which began with the Sin of the Spies [in the Torah, when a group of Israelite representatives sent to scour the Land of Israel claimed that the Israelites did not have the ability to conquer the Land], continued to the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, and up until the present time...all the troubles come from this day.

"I [for practical reasons] had advised against setting all these days on Tisha B'Av; since schools are closed now, and many are on vacation, who would explain the significance of all these days? They would all be forgotten! Therefore, let each stand as a distinct holiday, and let Tisha B'Av stand as the day of national mourning.

"Only a nation that truly knows how to honor its past is worthy of a glorious future."