A Reminder to Us All

I ended yesterday’s post with the words:

Tisha b’Av is a reminder to us all.

How, you might ask, is Tisha b’Av a reminder to us? Even to those of us who, like me, are NOT Jewish?

First of all, please remember that the Jewish people are no different than you or me. They are as awful and as awesome as any group of people you can name. They have the same failings. They have the same strengths. They love their kids and argue with their neighbors in exactly the same way that you and I do.

Their failings are OUR failings.

But, I’m getting distracted.

Yesterday’s fast day, memorializes the fall of both temples and a number of awful events that emphasize the foolishness and frailty of mankind – and its terrible inhumanity.

When you come right down to it, we are all idiots at heart. Countless wars and disasters have started because we were too foolish to understand the mistakes that were repeating; because we were too proud to admit that we had been stupid; and then because we were too afraid of the cost of trying to fix the problems that our parents and grandparents started.

Yes, I know that there is evil. And yes, evil started it all in the first place, but unfortunately we cannot wish evil away just because we want it to go somewhere else. We cannot rid the world of evil. It’s encoded into our genes.

But, just because we cannot eliminate evil doesn’t mean that there is nothing that we can do. We CAN deny evil a fertile ground to grow in, and we CAN sacrifice our comfort (and even our lives) to fix problems that previous generations ignored.

My parent’s generation blew it. They screwed up just like their parents did, and we are about to pay the price for it. The question is this: do we roll up our sleeves and pay the price now? Or, do we allow evil to reach critical mass and destroy us all?

Unfortunately, Tisha b’Av reminds us of our track record in answering such questions.