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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Dr. Benji Levy

Tammuz Wisdom - To Build and To Be Built

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

We all crave connection. And yet, one of the most difficult tasks in today’s day and age is to connect.

At the heart of the month of Tammuz is the seventeenth day, where we we begin the saddest period of the Jewish year. As a natural optimist, I find it challenging to enter a state of mourning and connect with the tragedy. We never experienced the Temple or witnessed the wonders it represented. So for anyone that can relate to these feelings, I have been considering how we can appreciate the significance of this period.

Megillat Eicha, the Book of Lamentations, serves as a focal point of Tisha B'Av, the culmination of this period. While reviewing it, I noticed glimmers of hope scattered throughout the text. I began to realise that our commemoration of these historical tragedies is not solely about mourning what we have lost. It serves as a reminder of what we must strive to build. Eicha reminds us that we are not forsaken and that time weaves a narrative of hope; a tale of optimism, in almost every moment.

A famous zionist phrase relates how people came to Israel: “To build and be built” (Livnot U'Lehibanot) and the journey continues. This profound notion means that building builds the builders. And the flip is true as well. In the destruction, a part of us is destroyed. Although there is much ruin in the world today, we are called upon to bring light and rebuild. Through our rebuilding, we ourselves are built and this annual commemoration reminds us why.

May we all recognize the voids and fill them with intentionality.

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