Tonight begins Tisha be-Av, commemoration of the destruction of the First and Second Temples and just about every other tragedy that's hit the Jewish people. It's a day about brokenness in the world, in our society, in ourselves. We chant Eikha, the Book of Lamentations, the most beautiful poem about misery every recorded. We find some hope by tomorrow evening, when we read the haftarah at Minha--if only we can cease to be evil--
Yea, you shall leave in joy and be led home secure.
Before you, mount and hill shall shout aloud,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
... These shall stand as a testimony to the Lord,
As an everlasting sign that shall not perish.
Will we ever be good enough to merit the joy of nature, the security of life in a world that we are not ourselves destroying? I don't know. I'm glad I'll get to sing about both possibilities, the horrible and the halcyon, and acknowledge them through my breath and my heart rather than just my mind.