It’s strange, this year, to walk into the holiday of Tisha B’av, the day of mourning commemorating the destruction of the ancient temples in Jerusalem. In the past, to put myself in the mindset of the day, great strides needed to be taken both mentally and emotionally; to try to mourn and feel sadness for an ancient event is quite the task.
But this year, it feels all-too familiar. Sitting on the floor. Not wearing shoes. These customs of mourning are no longer ancient relics, that remind us of the sadness of a bygone era. These are customs that we lived for seven full days, as we mourned losing our Gilad.
It was almost one year ago that we arrived home from the cemetery, and began the week-long process of mourning. The dirt was washed from our hands, we were seated down in low chairs, and we were given food to eat, as comforters and consolers streamed in. And we began the process of slowly working our way through our grief. We began the tedious task of dealing with the realization that he is no longer with us. We began to mourn.
I always used to wish that I could connect more to the mourning of Tisha B’av. I pined to connect to the sadness. To be able to truly feel what I was intended to feel on that day. Oh, how foolish I was. The childish notion that there is somehow romanticism in pain, and catharsis in suffering. Oh, how I pine for those days of innocence, the days before I knew what loss truly is.
And so, on this Tisha B’av, I’m not mourning the loss of an ancient temple in Jerusalem. I’m not mourning the loss of a Jewish people in a Jewish land, nor the loss of thousands of Jewish lives over the years. No, this year I mourn that I know what mourning is. I mourn that I have reason to know how to mourn. I mourn, not the communal mourning of the Jewish people, but my own personal suffering.
This Tisha B’av, I mourn the loss of my brother Gilad. For this, I weep.