We humans are a superstitious lot. If you think about it you can probably come up with a list of ten superstitions that are relatively well known. And if you really concentrate you can probably come up with a list of personal superstitions. I know that I have my own and in spite of what others may claim it has nothing to do with OCD.
Some of my fellow MOTs find the three weeks to be terribly distressing. They expect and anticipate that bad things will happen to them during this time. I can think of more than one conversation in which someone explained the real reason behind the car breaking down or a summer cold.
It all culminates on Tisha B’Av. On Tisha B’Av we see the end of this cycle and the beginning of a new one. In my mind I always like to think of redemption as being the second and in some ways more important part of the day.
I can attribute this attitude to how we observed Tisha B’Av at camp. The evening was always somber. We’d gather on the tennis court and listen to the chanting of Eicha. Under a star filled sky I’d try to imagine what had happened with varying degrees of success. It is not hard to remember heading back to my tent with a myriad of thoughts running through my mind.
In the morning we’d wake up knowing that although it would be somewhere between 90 and 100 degrees outside there wouldn’t be any food or drink. It was a fast day that often moved slowly. Sometimes it was tough to be living in a place that was designed for so much fun on a day that was supposed to be so somber. But that was only for part of the day because in the afternoon we’d start to think about redemption.
And redemption is something that I find quite interesting. I am not speaking of the days in which moshiach comes. The truth is that I have kind of mixed emotions about that. It is a hard concept to wrap my brain around. It is hard for me to imagine that time and what life will be like. It is not that I can’t do it, but sometimes it is just hard to let go of the concrete realities of the life I have now and picture that particular future.
So when I think about redemption I think of it as a time of growth. I picture it as being a time in which things can and often do get better. Life improves because we make it improve. For me it is a particularly salient point because lately life has been very tough. So now I am doing whatever I can to make that happen. And the thing is that I do feel like a weight is lifting off of my shoulders.
Perhaps that is just my own superstition or perhaps there is something more. All I know is that perception is often a major part of the battle and my own perception is that a positive change in the air. Redemption is here.