The 9th of Av. A day of bitter tears. We mourn the destruction of Jerusalem twice by the hands of enemies. We mourn a long and bitter exile. We mourn our own lacking. Our inability to fix the hatred that continues to pull us apart. The intolerance continues this same exile. Although, during the period of the 9 days leading up to the 9th of Av we have a custom of mourning and refraining from listening to live music, we are permitted to sing/hear songs of mourning. Come with me to the Pilgrimage Road in ancient Jerusalem. This Road once united all of the Jewish people and even the nations of the world who would come together in celebration and spirituality. The remnants that we find on this road point to the bitter end of Jerusalem on the 9th of Av year 70 CE. We find the ashes of a city burned to the ground. We find remnants of the last Jews of Jerusalem before they were mercilessly slaughtered. And if you listen closely, you can hear a silent whisper. A whisper from those no longer here begging us to fix the wrong. Begging us to come together and be united again. To, once and for all, restore the unity and love in the streets of Jerusalem so she can again be a light unto the world.

Our Matriarch Rachel, who died in childbirth, is buried on the side of the main highway “on the way to Efrata” in Beit Lechem (Bethlehem of today). Why is this a stop on our 9th of Av tour? How is Rachel connected?

The prophet Jeremiah describes the bitter cries of Rachel being heard on high as she cries bitterly for her sons as they are led out to exile. She is buried on the main road and the children of Israel pass by her grave on the way out into the long and bitter exile. Jeremiah prophesizes that in her merit the Children of Israel will return to the land.

When we talk about the reason of our exile, one of the main things that comes to mind is baseless hatred. But in truth, we are all siblings. We are a family and we are connected.

May we merit to see the prophecies fulfilled in our days.