Today in the Hebrew calendar is the ninth of the month of Av, (Tish'a B'Av) in which we commemorate the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples, over two thousand years ago. This day is earmarked as an intense day of mourning and reflection on the tragic events as well as the failings of our nation that caused us to merit these calamities. It is also a day of fasting. Interestingly, Tish'a B'Av is one of two fast days on the Jewish calendar that begin at dusk the evening before -as opposed to sunrise of- the day itself. As Tish'a B'Av falls out during the height of the summer months, this means that it is usually the longest fast of the year. As I am a notoriously bad faster, I dread this day for this corporeal reason about as much as for its spiritual significance.
While my personal feelings towards the Gaza withdrawals are that they are a necessary political step, I moan the tragedy of uprooting families and communities that forged their existence out of blood, sweat and tears. It's prophetic that this action's first concrete steps are taken on this day of national mourning for the Jewish people.
UNRELATED TRAGEDY: I read today of a 737 crash near Athens (Greece, not Georgia) it sounds like a catastrophic decompression that caused the pilots to lose consciousness. How could they not have gotten their oxygen on in time to stave off a blackout? Interestingly, the news reports that Greek F-16s scrambled when the plane entered Greek airspace without making radio contact and shadowed the plane as it drifted into a hill. I'm actually impressed that the Greek Air Force reacted so quickly and effectively (as it were) to an airspace violation. How many times do we hear about airspace violations that go glaringly unchallenged even in the mighty good ole US of A?