Tisha B’av, fasting, praying and Romney at the wall

Tisha B’Av, Israel Nation News

I love the significance and discipline of Jewish holidays, even when it is a day of mourning. Tisha B’av is an annual fast day, mourning the loss of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem, both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av. The Babylonians destroyed it in 586 B.C.E. and the Romans in 70 C.E. It also marks the suffering of the Jewish people during the Diaspora (scattering of Israel) and their many trials.

Mitt Romney visited the Kotel Plaza on Sunday and shared his prayer for Israel: 

“In this sacred spot and on this special day, I have gotten to know more about the history of the Jewish people, and I feel the pain of the destruction undergone by the Jewish people – the special nation as it was in the past – and I pray and hope for peace for the nation of Israel and the entire world.” (Israel Nation News)

Israel Nation News

Romney placed a note between the stones of the Kotel. Ann Romney chose to observe this holy day of Tisha B’av by fasting and not wearing leather shoes. The restrictions on Tisha B’Av are similar to Yom Kippur:

“refrain from eating and drinking (even water); washing, bathing, shaving or wearing cosmetics; wearing leather shoes; engaging in sexual relations; and studying Torah. Work in the ordinary sense of the word [rather than the Shabbat sense] is also restricted. People who are ill need not fast on this day. Many of the traditional mourning practices are observed: people refrain from smiles, laughter and idle conversation, and sit on low stools. In synagogue, the book of Lamentations is read and mourning prayers are recited. The ark (cabinet where the Torah is kept) is draped in black.”  (Judaism 101)

 Accompanied by Kotel Rabbi Rav Shmuel Rabinovich, Romney recited Psalm 121:

A song of ascents.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from G-d,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
G-d watches over you—
    G-d is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
G-d will keep you from all harm —
    he will watch over your life;
G-d will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

As a Mormon, I found it interesting to see a Priesthood holder receive acceptance, and pray at the Temple wall. I can’t help but think of Israel, our brothers, the twelve brothers and the mingled history of the tribes of Israel. During the famine of Abrahams day, Jacob’s sons went down to Egypt to get grain, and they did not know that it was their brother, Joseph who would help them.

How do you keep your concentration in prayer with all those cameras going clicking?

Aerial view of Temple spot

Southern wall

Model of Temple