Sunday, July 15, 2007

Recommended reading for Tisha B'Av

Tisha B'Av, the holiday remembering and mourning the destructions of Jerusalem and the expulsions of the Jews from the Land of Israel, is hard for many Jews to relate to. It's simply hard for us to relate to our current life as exile.

The following books are books that I've found, each in their own way, to bring the "Eicha" into modern life. They're not the most pleasant reading, but if anyone is looking for something to read on Tisha B'Av, or more generally to show the feelings of war and terror, I suggest the following.

Adjusting Sights: An excellent book about the 1973 Yom Kippur war, written by a then-18 year old religious soldier grappling with the pain, loss, and utter confusion of war.

Life in the Shadow of Terror: A collection of personal accounts of life in Jerusalem during the Palestinian Intifada 2000-2003.

O Jerusalem: The classic tale of the battle for Israeli independence in 1948.

Let's all work, hope, and pray for this year to be the end of terror and all suffering, and the beginning of true world peace.


thanbo said...

I tend to read Josephus, and dip a toe into Midrash Eicha (in English).

Bruce Krulwich said...

My cousin Thanbo is certainly correct that anyone who can spend the day with the Kinot prayers and traditional reading material such as Josephus and the accounts of the destruction in the Talmud and Midrash, this is the most fitting way to spend Tisha B'Av. I personally find Josephus fascinating because of the history behind his writings.

My post about recommending alternative reading is for people who for whatever reason do not find the more traditional reading inspiring. For example, many people nowadays devote the day to movies about the holocaust. Devoting some time to truly understanding the fear and pain of Israel's recent wars and terror attacks seems to me to be an equally appropriate endeavor.

Anonymous said...

like someone wrote elsewhere, A time to Weep by Rabbi Laibel Resnick is a very good read. Even my kids gain from it. Here's a short description about the book:

Have a meaningful fast.

Bruce Krulwich said...

This has been discussed at length in a post on Hirhurim, the comments there, and my comment there.