Sitting Alone: On Tisha B’Av and Covid-19

Today is Tisha B’Av, the annual fast day commemorating the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem and our subsequent exile from Israel. Through it all Tisha B’Av seems to be a day of isolation. At the start of Eicha we read:

How does the city sit alone, that was full of people! How has she become as a widow! She who was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!  She weeps sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; she has none to comfort her among all her lovers; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies. Yehudah is gone into exile because of affliction, and because of great servitude; she dwells among the nations, she finds no rest; all her pursuers overtook her within the straits. (Lamentations 1:1-3)

Jerusalem is alone with none to comfort her. We as a people are in exile. This theme tracks through the course of Eicha and the customs and traditions of Tisha B’Av.

Young boy sitting alone with sad feeling at school. Depressed af

It is noteworthy that this isolation of Tisha B’Av seems almost prescient of the CDC requirement for the social isolation protocols meant to stem the spread of Covid-19 and the newer Delta variant. Above and beyond getting vaccinated following these guidelines is supposed to save us.

This is echoed by Eichah when it reads:

Let him sit alone and keep silence, because God has laid it upon him. Let him put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope. (Lamentation 3:28-29)

In spending today alone we are supposed to have hope in the future. In following these guidelines we are also supposed to have hope in he future.

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