Today is Tisha B’Av. It is known as the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, and deservedly so. Throughout our history, a number of tragic events occurred on this date, including the destruction of the first Holy Temple in Jerusalem (and the second, as well), the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, and the beginning of World War I (which led to the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust).
Yet all is not dismal, even on this darkest of days. As we see in the special Tisha B’Av prayers and readings, there is room for hope. We can resolve to do and be better. Whatever sins and errors caused the calamities that befell us in the past, if we make the effort to rise above what is negative in human nature, we are guaranteed success.
For, on that dark day in Spain, a man set sail with three ships in search of an ocean route to India. What he found instead became a new haven for those seeking refuge from their oppressors, their descendants, and countless others searching for a better life…
May the day speedily come when all mankind will live in joyful harmony with all the inhabitants of this earth.