From the Desk - Three Weeks of Mourning for the Jewish Exile
Shalom Friends! I hope you are enjoying the Summer now that, thankfully, the heatwave has passed (though there are reports of its impending return!).
At Beth Ora, we've been taking advantage of the weather with some beautiful outdoor events. On Sunday, we had a fantastic time strawberry picking at Quinn Farm. And last night saw another great success at our second BBQ of the season.
By now you will have seen details of our forthcoming guest speaker, Rabbi Shalom Hammer, who will be with us for Shabbat July 28th. Rabbi Hammer will be giving the sermon that morning and will also be speaking on the topics Israel's Struggle for Survival and Vision of Continuity and Jewish Heroism: Mind with Matter. Put the date in your diary and join us for what will be an inspirational and enlightening Shabbat. Also coming up is the Beth Ora Annual Giant Fruit Salad Making on Sunday August 12th from 10:30 am - 1:30 pm. Please join us for a fantastic community event in which we will prepare huge amounts of fruit salad to deliver to worthy causes. Those who wish to deliver fruit salad to a worthy cause on the afternoon of Sunday August, 12th, please let me know. Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos, Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami
What's the Deal with... the Three Weeks of Mourning for the Jewish Exile? From Friday July 13th until Sunday July 22nd, Sephardi Jews observe a period of mourning for the destruction of the Temple, the Jewish exile and all the ways in which the world is not as it should be. This practice is based on the Talmud which teaches that when the Jewish month of Av begins, we reduce our joy. Ashkenazi Jews also observe this period but they start even earlier (this year from July 1st) so that the period of mourning is for three weeks. During those three weeks, Ashkenazim have no weddings and don't take haircuts or hold parties. At Lunch N' Learn this week. Donna Kensley asked me why the Ashkenazi period of mourning starts earlier. What's the deal? In preparing this answer, I made use of an article by Rabbi David Brofsky. The earliest reference to a three week period of mourning over the loss of the Temple is in the Book of Daniel. Daniel recalls how he mourned for three weeks, abstaining from bread, wine, meat and anointing. The specific reference to these particular three weeks of the year as a time of mourning first appears in a Midrash. Records of specific practices of mourning for this time date at least as far back as the ninth century. According to one of the great rabbis of the last generation, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the rules for the first 12 days of mourning (before the month of Av which Sephardim also observe) correspond to the rules observed for the 12 months following the passing of a parent.