Moon Over Maui

A Jewish Mystical Journey through the Year

The Destruction of Divine Love

Written By: Jueli Garfinkle - Aug• 07•11

I’ve known this day was coming. I’ve avoided it for years. I’ve averted my eyes and tucked my heart deeply away in protection from an onslaught of unwanted emotion.

Every year, just a few days before the full moon of Av, an entire 24-hour period of time is set aside to viscerally recall the deepest sadness and pain within us. It is actually an official period of mourning when you make time to recall and feel not only your own personal lifetime of devastating experiences, but also the catastrophe and struggle and annihilation that has accumulated over thousands of years of human existence.

That day begins tonight at sunset. (Tisha b’Av in the Jewish tradition.)

Tisha b'Av Begins Tonight at Sunset

I’m encouraged to embrace these 24 hours with a full, open, and curious heart. So far, I’ve invited the darker emotions of pain, sadness, and destruction of this moon cycle into my usual happiness bubble. I’m not lost in the swirl of overwhelming darkness. I haven’t been parallelized by the amount of pain and sadness lodged within the pits of my belly or from the history of our people.

Instead, what I have felt and been struck by, awestruck really, is that it is a balance. At the root of destruction is an indistinguishable ember of direct love and connection. It doesn’t feel that way at the time, of course. But from here, within a life of fortune, beauty, and relative ease, I live by the privilege of retrospective insight.

I’m not saying pain and destruction and overwhelming sadness doesn’t exist or that they don’t exist within me. They do in great proportion. Yet, as my heart opens to feeling the depth of these dark emotions, what I come to is love. What I come to is the balance of living. That we as a people—individually and collectively—are resilient. We are birthed from times of destruction.

We are alive in a tumultuous time, yes. But as my veteran friend said to me, even the sunset above the field of a raging war is beautiful.

I embrace these next 24-hours of darkness. I symbolically rip my fabric in official mourning. I will sit low and cry. And yet, I know that this is a conjuring. That if I turn just a little, and tip my heart just a bit in another direction, I will be enveloped by the truth and assurance of Divine love.

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