Get six complete and original sermons for Shabbat Chazon/Tisha B’Av (or purchase them individually)
1. Damaged Dignity
Tisha B’Av is the saddest day in the Jewish calendar because on this day both Temples were destroyed. How do we translate this tragic day in our personal lives? The answer is one word: dignity. On this day our dignity was shattered, as hinted to in the number of the day: Nine. We also learn from this Shabbat Tisha B’Av, which is also known as Shabbat Chazon. how to restore and rebuild our dignity.
2. Is Judaism Personal?
Tisha B’Av offers us few lessons on how to personalize Judaism via a discussion about what it means to settle the Land of Israel, why Moses spoke the last of the five books of Torah in the first person, and via a fascinating story that relates what happens when a homeless man is handed $100,000 to do with it what he likes. Will he turn his life around or will he remain homeless?
3. How to Make the Bland Tasty
The Ninth of Av, is usually the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, marked by fasting and mourning. But being Shabbos this year we honor the day with feasting and joy, and the fast and grieving is suspended until tonight and tomorrow. What can we learn from transforming a fast day into a feast day? A providential confluence of a fast day and fast food may provide a clue, as alluded to in this week’s Torah reading.
4. Do You Dare to Dream?
Mark Twain once asked: “What is the secret of Jewish immortality?” An absorbing question, especially on Tisha B’Av, when we remember the destruction of our Templex. What inspired us to rebuild our lives when our Temple was razed to the ground? What has kept us alive through the suffering and oppression of our exiles? What has been our secret? Ironically, the mystery of Jewish immortality can be discovered in the heart of destruction.
5. A Time to Cry, A Time to Laugh
Crying seems like the appropriate thing to do during this time of the year – the saddest period in the Jewish calendar. Or should we? A famous Talmudic story tells of four rabbis who saw the aftermath of the destruction of the Temple. Three cried, one laughed. What did Rabbi Akiva, the one who laughed, see that the others did not? Can we look through his eyes? Should we be crying today or should we be laughing?
6. Is Zionism Judaism?
On Shabbat Chazon we read the Haftorah of Isaiah’s vision, penned some 2,750 years ago. It concludes with: Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and its captives with righteousness. Why is it called Zion? Is that different than Judaism? The answer is illustrated by a heartbreaking story of what it truly means to be a soldier in the Israeli Army.