July 10 marks the beginning of the three week mourning period leading up to Tisha B'Av. The Three Weeks, or bein hametzarim (in the narrow places) is a tender time for getting in touch with our feelings around anticipating the destruction of the Temple.
The ancient rabbis understood the importance of honoring our pain for the world. In our contemporary culture, it is often difficult to slow down and experience our pain, even as we witness so much brokenness all around us. Yet it is the process of honoring our pain which opens us to clarity, compassion, and courage.
Join me in embracing these three weeks as a time to honor our grief through creativity, in service of strengthening our capacity to love and care for our world and one another. I invite you to join me in keeping a grief journal or exploring grief through another creative medium, such as poetry, chant, collage, drawing, painting, or dance. Devote time, even if just a few minutes, each day to creatively explore the following questions:
1. What news stories arouse my sadness and outrage?
2. What am I most fearful about? When I let myself consider the worst case scenario, what arises?
3. What does the Temple represent for me at this time? What is at stake to be lost with the destruction of the Temple? What values and institutions do I hold dear whose walls have been breached?
4. In reading the haftarah of admonition for the week (there are three haftarot of admonition, from Jeremiah and Isaiah, starting with this coming Shabbat), what phrases speak to me? (These can serve as writing prompts or inspiration for creative expression)
Please share your reflections and creative offerings in the comments section, as we support one another in journeying through the Three Weeks.
May we be blessed with the courage to honor our grief.