Dear Friends,

After two political conventions during the past few weeks, it seems everywhere we turn, there are heated exchanges for and against various political movements. Before we should decide what is right or what is wrong with this policy or with another, we should acknowledge that there is an underlying positive energy in the air that permeates the entire scope of the political discussion. All parties are looking to bring about change. Everyone agrees that things just can’t stay the same. There is work to be done and we must do it- but what exactly is the nature of that work? What is the best approach, and who will do it? Yet, all political movements begin with one premise: things just can’t stay the same.

What can we learn from this regarding our service to G‑d?

This time of year on the Jewish calendar reminds us especially of that “change” energy. We are now in the period of the “Three Weeks,” where we remember the destruction of the holy Temple in Jerusalem and the beginning of the longest exile, predicted by the prophets back then. It is generally a time of mourning the glorious past that the Jewish people and the world had.

But why so much focus on a sad event that transpired 2,000 years ago?

The answer relates to spiritual energy and vision. If we view the loss of the Temple in Jerusalem solely as a sad event that happened 2,000 years ago, and leave it at that, we have actually lost the whole point. All good movements for the future need to begin with being disturbed and unhappy with the status quo. We then seek a vision, and utilize that bitterness to become a catalyst for dynamic energy and change. It's all about channeling negative energy to create a positive force.

In the selections from the Prophets we read on Shabbat these weeks and afterwards, we are given a glimpse of the past destruction followed by a vision of the future and a reminder to return to G‑d. We then read about an era when there will be a complete world of eternal peace and tranquility, morality, meaning and connection to G‑d through a living Torah.

The purpose of these days of “mourning” is to inspire us to act on change , re-energize ourselves and actually increase in our activities through Tzedaka, acts of Goodness and Kindness, simultaneously coupled with the light of wisdom through study of Torah, until “the world will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d as the water covers the sea.”

Have a wonderful Shabbat!

Rabbi Levi Fogelman