("Let's table the discussion" is a new Adath Israel Shul initiative where a story or thought is presented in order to stimulate exciting and constructive discussion around our Shabbos table or among friends and children.)
In a time not long ago, a baby girl was born to two doting parents. Having waited for a long time to be blessed with children, the parents’ joy was boundless. However, greater than the joy of the parents, was the incredible excitement of the maternal grandmother whose beloved mother (may she rest in peace) now had a child who would bear her name. The close bond formed between grandmother and grandchild was the envy of children and grandparents everywhere.
When the young child grew up and became Bas Mitzva, her grandmother gave her an incredibly special gift – a ring with an incredibly shiny – and expensive – jewel at its center that had been in the family for four generations. The ring was something incredible to behold. It’s setting pure, and the center stone so incredibly sparkly. The young woman was proud to show it off in front of her friends.
Tragedy struck when one morning she was unable to find it. After tearing the house apart, it became apparent that the ring was lost forever. The young girl was devastated. Her father was devastated. But above all, the grandmother who had given the special gift was inconsolable.
The young woman’s distress stemmed from her loss of the ring whose shininess gave her status in the eyes of her friends. Her father couldn’t understand that distress. After all, cubic zirconium could have also given off the brilliant shine – without the brilliant cost. The real tragedy here in his mind, was the tremendous treasure that was contained within the value of the stone.
A grandmother is a lot wiser. She does not concern herself with shininess or money. HER distress was a break in the family heirloom. The connection to the previous generations that this ring represented, was to be no more.
Often, we find it difficult to relate to Churban Beis HaMikdash. In fact, it seems as if mourning is something that we try to get out of – figuring out what the most basic requirements are, and to do nothing more. Many remark how difficult it is, to relate to the loss of the Beis HaMikdash when it is the lifestyle that we’ve been born into, and our parents and grandparents as well.
Rav Volch notes that many who saw the Beis HaMikdash, knew it was one of the seven wonders of the world. Those who merited to see it, knew that they never saw the building quite like it ever. The exquisite vessels, the artistic tapestries and the pure majesty of the golden building –it was magnificent. It was a tremendous tribute from Hashem’s people to Him and it represented Kavod Shomayim. Others understood the intricacies of the Temple service. They know how each step brought Beracha – for wealth, for health for success and children and all sorts of good things. Still others valued the historical connection that the place had. The Makom HaMikdash was the rendezvous point that each of the Avos had with Hashem – whether it be at the Akaida or when fleeing from Eisav. Each one received a promise directly from Hashem for Jewish survival and sovereignty.
And it is no longer. The various connections to the Beis Hamikdash were destroyed and have remained such for hundreds of years.
Is mourning for the Mikdash today possible?
How can we make our connection to the Beis HaMikdash in general and to this period of time specifically, more meaningful?
Let’s “table” the discussion – by discussing it with our children, spouses, families and guests and open an exciting discussion into our homes and community.