Rabbi Miriam's Blog
Last week I wrote to you about the special Three Week period before Tisha-B’Av and the collapse of Jewish life as we knew it.
On Tisha B’Av we use a special prayer book which includes Kinot (sad poems), portions of the book of Lamentations. Composed during the difficult times of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition, these Kinot express prayers, dreams and hopes. Most of the topics are about the sinful behavior of the Jews, and their love for the land of Israel. These Kinot have a strong influence on our human psyche and also in our prayer books today. Other Kinot were written in response to tragedies in Jewish history.
Some of the most popular Kinot poets were Elazar Hakallir (eighth-century), Solomon ibn Gabirol from the Golden Age of Spain, (eleventh century), and Yehuda Halevi, a twelfth century physician, poet and philosopher who was born in Spain, and died soon after he fulfilled his dream of reaching the Land of Israel in 1141. Noted for both his religious and secular poems and also for his philosophical works, he is considered to be one of the greatest post-biblical Hebrew poets of all time. Much of his poetry reflected his love for Israel, and kept alive the love of Zion as a part of Jewish culture. Many of his religious poems are today integrated into the liturgy.
A Longing to Return to the Land of Israel
My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west. How can I find savor in food? How shall it be sweet to me? How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet Zion lieth beneath the fetter of Edom, and I in Arab chains? A light thing would it seem to me to leave all the good things of Spain - Seeing how precious in mine eyes to behold the dust of the desolate sanctuary.
I am looking forward to seeing you on the 9th of Av (THIS Monday at 7 PM) for our Tisha B’Av program. Please bring a friend.
Ahavat Torah of West Los Angeles
About Rabbi Miriam
Rabbi Miriam E. Hamrell MHL, M.Ed., has served as our religious and spiritual leader at Ahavat Torah Congregation and helped it grow since it was founded in 2003.