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    The brighter side of Tishah B’Av

    Reciting Kinnot at the Kotel on Tishah B'Av

    Tishah B’Av isn’t just gloom and doom.

    Symbolised by the brighter mood of the afternoon service of the day, it assures us that if we mourn properly for the historic loss of lives and communities, we will merit to see the redemption, when light will emerge out of the darkness and joy will replace the sighing and sorrow.

    In Hertz’s “Book of Jewish Thoughts” you will find a magnificent poem written in 1914 by PM Raskin, an Anglo-Russian Jewish poet, and published in “Songs of a Wanderer”. Titled “The Eternal Riddle”, the poem says,

    “Fought – never conquered,
    Bent – never broken.
    Mortal – immortal.
    Youthful, though old…

    “Nations keep coming,
    Nations keep going,
    Passing like shadows,
    Wiped off the earth…

    “Thou an eternal
    Witness remainest,
    Watching their burial,
    Watching their birth…”

    The other nations tried to destroy us. They sacked our city and seized our land, they destroyed our Temple, they made our lives a misery, they unleashed constant persecutions and pogroms, they sent holocausts to break us. They still deface, defame, denounce and delegitimize us… but Am Yisra’el Chai, our people lives. Our backbone is firm. We continue to believe in God, man and ourselves… and we will overcome.

    A few weeks ago I saw Vienna, where a great Jewish community did so much for their nation, who stood by as the enemy sought to snuff us out. Today in the streets of old Vienna black-hatted charedim constantly scurry to their study houses and synagogues. The Jewish spirit is unquenchable.

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