BRONWYN KRUGER'S D'var Torah
This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Chazon.
It is the one directly before Tish’A B’Av or the 9th day of the month of Av, which is when we, as Jews, traditionally commemorate the destruction of the Temples, first by the Babylonians and then by the Romans.
For Progressive Jews, the day is seen more as a symbol of all the suffering that Jews have had to bear over the years rather than only the destruction of the ancient Temples. On this day, Progressive Jews commemorate other more recent tragedies or calamities that have befallen the Jews, such as the Crusades, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and the Holocaust.
This day of mourning can in fact be used to remember and memorialize all Jews who have died ’Al Kiddush Ha-Shem’ – for the glory of G-d.
For Progressive Jews, there is a silver lining to the tragedy of the destruction of the Temples as it allowed the centre of Jewish worship to move away from sacrifice in the Temple and towards prayer in the shul. I think this is a very good way of looking at things.
The word ‘progressive’ means to make progress or move forward and accept change and I think that honoring G-d through prayer is more suited to our modern age than sacrificing animals would be.
The Jewish religion is always changing and developing with modern society. I am glad that I am part of a Jewish community that embraces change and allows growth.
My parasha comes from Devarim, which tells us about the last sermons given to the Israelites by Moses just before he died and they entered the promised land. In his first sermon, Moses reminds the Jews about their journey out of Eretz Mitzraim into the desert that brought them to the land that G-d had promised them.
I find it interesting that Tisha’ B’Av and my parasha both deal with remembrance and the memories of things past, whether good or bad.
Remembering our past is important as a Jewish community but it’s also important for us as individuals – to help forge our path to the future and learn from mistakes of the past.
Happy memories can give us comfort in bad times and remembering past suffering can make us appreciate the present and inspire us to live our lives in the most meaningful way possible.
I will never forget my years at Cheder or preparing for my Batmitzvah. Everything that I have experienced as a Jewish child up to this moment has helped to shape who I am now.
I know that I will carry the memories of this day and Temple Israel with me as I become and adult member of this community.