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    The rival emotions

    The Jewish calendar has two groups of dates that battle with one another for the soul of the Jew.

    On the one hand there are the festivals, days of joy and happiness: on the other the fast days, which remind us of gloom and tragedy.

    Amongst the fasts are four which mark the destruction of the Temple and seem to create a cycle of sadness. Chief amongst these four fasts is Tishah B’Av, but the fast of 17 Tammuz, three weeks earlier, is a prominent date in the cycle.

    The rivalry between the feasts and the fasts is symbolised by two emotions – the lachrymose (the tearful) and the love and laughing.

    The way Jewish history has played out we see a trail of tragedy and fear that more is to come; we see a series of simchas and hope there will be many more of them.

    The Jewish spirit has, Baruch HaShem, made its choice, and we are an optimistic people who prefer dreams to nightmares.

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