Professor Alice Shalvi, [Days of Mourning, Days of Joy]
...What immediately precedes Independence Day ・the Day of Memorial for the fallen in all military conflicts ・has engendered much debate. Bereaved families, in particular, complain that there is too sudden and sharp a transition from mourning to merriment. But for many of us, it is precisely this juxtaposition - of the sacrifice which independence and statehood too often entail with the celebration of its outcome ・which retains a special significance and poignancy. For me personally, the most moving part of the Mount Herzl Ceremony, one which never failed to bring tears to my eyes, was the moment when, out of total darkness, one single spotlight shone on the flag at half-mast, the Last Post’s melancholy notes were sounded and, as the final mournful notes died away, the flag rose to the top of the pole as all the lights went on....
(יא) עִבְד֣וּ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה בְּיִרְאָ֑ה וְ֝גִ֗ילוּ בִּרְעָדָֽה׃ (יב) נַשְּׁקוּ־בַ֡ר פֶּן־יֶאֱנַ֤ף ׀ וְתֹ֬אבְדוּ דֶ֗רֶךְ כִּֽי־יִבְעַ֣ר כִּמְעַ֣ט אַפּ֑וֹ אַ֝שְׁרֵ֗י כָּל־ח֥וֹסֵי בֽוֹ׃
(11) Serve the LORD in fear; rejoice with trembling, (12) pay homage in good faith, lest God be angered, and your way be doomed in the mere flash of God's anger. Happy are all who take refuge in the Holy One.
...״עִבְדוּ אֶת ה׳ בְּיִרְאָה וְגִילוּ בִּרְעָדָה״. מַאי ״וְגִילוּ בִּרְעָדָה״? אָמַר רַב אַדָּא בַּר מַתְנָא אָמַר רַבָּה: בִּמְקוֹם גִּילָה שָׁם תְּהֵא רְעָדָה. אַבָּיֵי הֲוָה יָתֵיב קַמֵּיהּ דְּרַבָּה חַזְיֵיהּ דַּהֲוָה קָא בָדַח טוּבָא. אֲמַר ״וְגִילוּ בִּרְעָדָה״ כְּתִיב! אֲמַר לֵיהּ: אֲנָא תְּפִילִּין מַנַּחְנָא. רַבִּי יִרְמְיָה הֲוָה יָתֵיב קַמֵּיהּ דְּרַבִּי זֵירָא. חַזְיֵיהּ דַּהֲוָה קָא בָדַח טוּבָא אֲמַר לֵיהּ: ״בְּכׇל עֶצֶב יִהְיֶה מוֹתָר״ כְּתִיב? אֲמַר לֵיהּ: אֲנָא תְּפִילִּין מַנַּחְנָא. מָר בְּרֵיהּ דְּרָבִינָא עֲבַד הִילּוּלָא לִבְרֵיהּ, חֲזַנְהוּ לְרַבָּנַן דַּהֲווֹ קָבָדְחִי טוּבָא. אַיְּיתִי כָּסָא דְמוֹקְרָא בַּת אַרְבַּע מְאָה זוּזִי, וְתַבַּר קַמַּיְהוּ, וְאִעֲצִיבוּ. רַב אָשֵׁי עֲבַד הִילּוּלָא לִבְרֵיהּ, חֲזַנְהוּ לְרַבָּנַן דַּהֲווֹ קָא בָדְחִי טוּבָא. אַיְּיתִי כָּסָא דְּזוּגִּיתָא חִיוָּרְתָּא, וְתַבַּר קַמַּיְהוּ, וְאִעֲצִיבוּ. אֲמַרוּ לֵיהּ רַבָּנַן לְרַב הַמְנוּנָא זוּטֵי בְּהִלּוּלָא דְּמָר בְּרֵיהּ דְּרָבִינָא: לִישְׁרֵי לַן מָר. אֲמַר לְהוּ: וַי לַן, דְּמִיתְנַן. וַי לַן, דְּמִיתְנַן. אָמְרִי לֵיהּ: אֲנַן מָה נַעֲנֵי בָּתְרָךְ? אֲמַר לְהוּ: הֵי תּוֹרָה, וְהֵי מִצְוָה דְּמַגְּנוּ עֲלַן. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחַאי: אָסוּר לְאָדָם שֶׁיְּמַלֵּא שְׂחוֹק פִּיו בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״אָז יִמָּלֵא שְׂחוֹק פִּינוּ וּלְשׁוֹנֵנוּ רִנָּה״. אֵימָתַי, בִּזְמַן שֶׁ״יֹּאמְרוּ בַגּוֹיִם הִגְדִּיל ה׳ לַעֲשׂוֹת עִם אֵלֶּה״. אָמְרוּ עָלָיו עַל רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ שֶׁמִּיָּמָיו לֹא מִלֵּא שְׂחוֹק פִּיו בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, מִכִּי שַׁמְעַהּ מֵרַבִּי יוֹחָנָן רַבֵּיהּ.
...“Serve the Lord in fear and rejoice with trembling” (Psalms 2:11). Having cited this verse from Psalms, the Gemara asks: What is the meaning of rejoice with trembling? Rav Adda bar Mattana said that Rabba said: One may not experience unbridled joy; even where there is rejoicing, there should be trembling. On that note, the Gemara relates: Abaye was sitting before his teacher Rabba, and Rabba saw that he was excessively joyful. He said to Abaye: It is written: Rejoice with trembling, one’s joy should not be unrestrained. Abaye said to him: It is permissible for me because I am donning phylacteries now and as long as they are upon me they ensure that the fear of God is upon me. Similarly, the Gemara relates that Rabbi Yirmeya was sitting before Rabbi Zeira. He saw that Rabbi Yirmeya was excessively joyful. He said to him: It is written: “In all sorrow there is profit” (Proverbs 14:23); sorrow is appropriate, not excessive joy. Rabbi Yirmeya said to him: It is permissible for me because I am donning phylacteries. On a similar note, the Gemara relates: Mar, son of Ravina, made a wedding feast for his son and he saw the Sages, who were excessively joyous. He brought a valuable cup worth four hundred zuz and broke it before them and they became sad. The Gemara also relates: Rav Ashi made a wedding feast for his son and he saw the Sages, who were excessively joyous. He brought a cup of extremely valuable white glass and broke it before them, and they became sad. Similarly, the Gemara relates: The Sages said to Rav Hamnuna Zuti at the wedding feast of Mar, son of Ravina: Let the Master sing for us. Since he believed that the merriment had become excessive, he said to them, singing: Woe unto us, for we shall die, woe unto us, for we shall die. They said to him: What shall we respond after you? What is the chorus of the song? He said to them, you should respond: Where is Torah and where is mitzva that protect us? In a similar vein, Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: One is forbidden to fill his mouth with mirth in this world, as long as we are in exile (ge’onim), as it is stated: “When the Lord returns the captivity of Zion we will be as dreamers” (Psalms 126:1). Only “then will our mouths fill with laughter and our lips with song” (Psalms 126:2). When will that joyous era arrive? When “they will say among nations, the Lord has done great things with these” (Psalms 126:2). They said about Reish Lakish that throughout his life he did not fill his mouth with laughter in this world once he heard this statement from his teacher, Rabbi Yoḥanan.
תנו רבנן כשחרב הבית בשניה רבו פרושין בישראל שלא לאכול בשר ושלא לשתות יין נטפל להן ר' יהושע אמר להן בני מפני מה אי אתם אוכלין בשר ואין אתם שותין יין אמרו לו נאכל בשר שממנו מקריבין על גבי מזבח ועכשיו בטל נשתה יין שמנסכין על גבי המזבח ועכשיו בטל אמר להם א"כ לחם לא נאכל שכבר בטלו מנחות אפשר בפירות פירות לא נאכל שכבר בטלו בכורים אפשר בפירות אחרים מים לא נשתה שכבר בטל ניסוך המים שתקו אמר להן בני בואו ואומר לכם שלא להתאבל כל עיקר אי אפשר שכבר נגזרה גזרה ולהתאבל יותר מדאי אי אפשר שאין גוזרין גזירה על הצבור אא"כ רוב צבור יכולין לעמוד בה דכתיב (מלאכי ג, ט) במארה אתם נארים ואותי אתם קובעים הגוי כולו אלא כך אמרו חכמים סד אדם את ביתו בסיד ומשייר בו דבר מועט וכמה אמר רב יוסף אמה על אמה אמר רב חסדא כנגד הפתח עושה אדם כל צרכי סעודה ומשייר דבר מועט מאי היא אמר רב פפא כסא דהרסנא עושה אשה כל תכשיטיה ומשיירת דבר מועט מאי היא אמר רב בת צדעא שנאמר (תהלים קלז, ה) אם אשכחך ירושלים תשכח ימיני תדבק לשוני לחכי וגו'
§ The Sages taught in a baraita (Tosefta, Sota 15:11): When the Temple was destroyed a second time, there was an increase in the number of ascetics among the Jews, whose practice was to not eat meat and to not drink wine. Rabbi Yehoshua joined them to discuss their practice. He said to them: My children, for what reason do you not eat meat and do you not drink wine? They said to him: Shall we eat meat, from which offerings are sacrificed upon the altar, and now the altar has ceased to exist? Shall we drink wine, which is poured as a libation upon the altar, and now the altar has ceased to exist? Rabbi Yehoshua said to them: If so, we will not eat bread either, since the meal-offerings that were offered upon the altar have ceased. They replied: You are correct. It is possible to subsist with produce. He said to them: We will not eat produce either, since the bringing of the first fruits have ceased. They replied: You are correct. We will no longer eat the produce of the seven species from which the first fruits were brought, as it is possible to subsist with other produce. He said to them: If so, we will not drink water, since the water libation has ceased. They were silent, as they realized that they could not survive without water. Rabbi Yehoshua said to them: My children, come, and I will tell you how we should act. To not mourn at all is impossible, as the decree was already issued and the Temple has been destroyed. But to mourn excessively as you are doing is also impossible, as the Sages do not issue a decree upon the public unless a majority of the public is able to abide by it, as it is written: “You are cursed with the curse, yet you rob Me, even this whole nation” (Malachi 3:9), indicating that the prophet rebukes the people for neglecting observances only if they were accepted by the whole nation. Rabbi Yehoshua continues: Rather, this is what the Sages said: A person may plaster his house with plaster, but he must leave over a small amount in it without plaster to remember the destruction of the Temple. The Gemara interjects: And how much is a small amount? Rav Yosef said: One cubit by one cubit. Rav Ḥisda said: This should be opposite the entrance, so that it is visible to all. Rabbi Yehoshua continues: The Sages said that a person may prepare all that he needs for a meal, but he must leave out a small item to remember the destruction of the Temple. The Gemara interjects: What is this small item? Rav Pappa said: Something akin to small, fried fish. Rabbi Yehoshua continues: The Sages said that a woman may engage in all of her cosmetic treatments, but she must leave out a small matter to remember the destruction of the Temple. The Gemara interjects: What is this small matter? Rav said: She does not remove hair from the place on the temple from which women would remove hair. The source for these practices is a verse, as it is stated: “If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember you not; if I set not Jerusalem above my highest joy” (Psalms 137:5–6).
(א) מִזְמ֥וֹר לְתוֹדָ֑ה הָרִ֥יעוּ לַ֝יהוָ֗ה כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (ב) עִבְד֣וּ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה בְּשִׂמְחָ֑ה בֹּ֥אוּ לְ֝פָנָ֗יו בִּרְנָנָֽה׃
(1) A psalm for praise. Raise a shout for the LORD, all the earth; (2) worship the LORD in gladness; come into His presence with shouts of joy.
Ivdu et H-shem besimcha bo'u lefanav birnana.
Walter Brueggemann, Reality, Grief, Hope
Ours is a society of great loss; that loss, moreover, generates fear and anxiety. But until the denial is broken by the public acknowledgement of grief, we are unable to come to terms with the reality of our social condition.
...[And] after the unthinkable end comes unimaginable beginnings. An embrace of ending permits beginning.