This was the most meaningful and focused Tisha B’Av I had experienced, at least that I can remember. Astounding to me given that I have spent a few at the Kotel. What made this year so different?
I believe it to primarily be two things.
The first, that I was asked to teach a women’s class the Shabbat before last. Although I try to learn about Tisha B’Av as much as possible during the Three Weeks every year, I simply learn more when I teach. I feel more compelled and more motivated. I need to try and recreate that dilligence as a student in the coming years.
I have expressed my gratitude for living in the small community that I do in many blog posts. In my mind I keep returning to my hakarat hatov that although it has been Hashem’s will to exile me (again) from the land of Israel, that I am blessed to be in a place that has helped me work on myself, my spiritual growth, and to become a teacher of Torah.
Secondly, as I have also written about before, I am truly enjoying “phase II” with my children. There have been many changes in our lives since we have gone, slowly, from a house “full of babies” to a house with no babies at all. This year I was able to have a meaningful dialogue – more than once – with my older children about the meaning of the day. Their comprehension led to their help and cooperation in allowing my husband and I to mourn properly. Their participation in our mitzvah, and their perception of it as just that, heightened the whole day for me and allowed me to focus more sharply. Even my talking to them repeatedly, or sharing a Tisha B’av video or thought helped me learn more, again, through teaching.
My oldest daughter is now at an age where I can leave her in charge for limited amounts of time under limited circumstances. Last night being one of those, I was able to go hear Eicha in shul for the first time in eleven years! Being with my community and hearing our amazing community Rav expound on the Kinot contributed so much to the day for me.
All that has happened is time; time for my daughter to grow up and time for the rest of the kids to be mature enough to understand why they need to listen to her for the evening and let me do this.
I am so very happy that entering “phase II” with our family allowed me to so successfully feel sad.
I hope that your Tisha B’av was meaningful and redemptive.