Dear friends and family, shalom,
Meeting my friend, Shaul for lunch has become a daily event. It's one of those regular events that renews my feeling that everything is normal and under control. We're all familiar with regularly, recurring events, like the sun rising every morning and setting every evening etc.
From this I conclude that regularly, recurring events, mostly, bring a feeling of well being and happiness, while sudden, unexpected events bring a feeling of unrest and unhappiness.
I can also conclude, as Judaism, Christianity and Islam have concluded that one can create one's own frequent, regular and recurring events, and so make myself more calm and happy.
For example my recurring lunch date with Shaul or going regularly to the office or school, eating meals at regular times, praying the regular prayer services etc. etc.
In the words of Dante: (Canto 1 line 40-43)
Thus the holy hour and the sweet season
of commemoration did much to arm my fear
Of that bright murderous beast with their good omen
Bad things happen suddenly and unexpectedly, good events recur over and over again. The bad, sudden events bring fear and unhappiness; the regularly recurring ones bring happiness and protect us from the evils of bad events.
There's no doubt that the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem happened suddenly, unexpectedly and only twice in our history. Judaism considers the event to be bad but remembering it is considered to be good.
The event happened infrequently, only twice, but remembering the event takes place regularly. Most Jews celebrate the memory once a year, today, the 9th of the month of Av. Many other Jews celebrate the memory every night by means of a special, nightly ceremony of remembrance.
The healing power of a constantly recurring event is so great that it extracts happiness from sadness. Every year, on this day, Jews recurrently re-enact the sadness they felt 2000 years ago when the event of the last destruction of the Temple occurred.
By regularly, every year, on this day, deliberately, following a strict set of laws, laid down in the Shulhan Arukh, the Jew brings himself down into the depths of despair.
From these depths of despair, the Jew rises, miraculously to the heights of hope and joy in the expected salvation of the Lord.
He knows that his ancestors have recurrently been in these depths and have come out of them. So he knows that his descendents also will bring themselves down to the despair and will rise to hope.