Last night a speaker came to campus to talk about bullying. She said a few words–I probably could’ve counted how many–and then she started asking questions. And when we didn’t willingly answer, she stood in silence waiting. And if we still didn’t answer (this only happened once), she walked up to someone and asked him directly.
This wasn’t a typical lecture. It went both ways.
And that got me thinking: bullying goes both ways, too.
There’s a popular joke that asks, Why do fast days go so slowly? The answer’s perhaps too simple, so everyone just laughs, no matter how many times they’ve heard it. Telling it has become as customary as the fast itself.
Tonight began Tisha B’av, the Ninth of Av. It’s a somber holiday, more an observance than a holiday really, for it commemorates disasters, not miracles. The return of the spies that condemned an entire generation to the desert till death. The destruction of the Temples in 586 B.C.E. and 70 C.E. The fall of Betar, the last stronghold of the Bar Kochba rebellion. The day when Jerusalem was plowed over and made uninhabitable.
Common catastrophes? Not quite. These disasters were crippling to the Jewish people, breakers-of-faith and sickening events even two thousand years later. We mourn. We member. We mustn’t forget.