Parasha / E-Letter

Tisha b’Av 5777: Rabbi Zadok’s prayer

0 Comments 01 August 2017

Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by Francesco Hayez, 1867

Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by Francesco Hayez, 1867

By Rabbi Idit Lev

In recent years in Israel the eve of Tisha B’Av has become a time to talk about the hatred between brothers that led to the destruction of the Temple. Many tales discuss the blind hatred and disconnect amongst various groups within the nation. We consider the parallel for today: the blind hatred and rifts, and the fact that these days it is considered legitimate to attack anyone who disagrees with you.

This parallel bears truth – there are so many similiaries and so much to learn from then that applies today.

One of the most interesting figures in the tale of the destruction of the Temple is Rabbi Zadok. Rabbi Zadok fasted for forty years so that Jerusalem would not be destroyed, eating only dried figs. After Rabbi Johanan ben Zakai left Jerusalem, besieged from outside its walls and conflicted within them, Vespasian asked him what he wanted. The rabbi asked that medical treatment be provided to Rabbi Zadok.

When I think of Rabbi Zadok, and all the things he witnessed and suffered through during those forty years and how his appeal to God was never fulfilled, I think of the late Rabbi David Forman z’l, who led the group of rabbis who founded Rabbis for Human Rights, and their choice to do something, to deal with the injustices they saw that hurt our society.

They did not abandon Rabbi Zadok’s prayer, and they chose to do something to bring about change.

On the eve of Tisha B’Av, I hope that their vision will continue to guide us, and help us build a better, more just, and moral society in the Land of Israel.

idit2Rabbi Idit Lev is the director of Rabbis for Human Right’s social justice in Israel program.

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