My cousin M and his wife L, who normally live in
M and L flew straight to my house from
With these thoughts in their minds, they went to bed.
At four in the morning L was awakened by a thunderous boom, as she felt the house shaking beneath her. Shocked, she shook M awake and declared: “
No one had any idea what was going on. Petrified, they only knew that giant fireballs were illuminating the night sky nearby—and that it was Tisha B’Av. L’s parents made a rapid decision. They gathered up their family, their pets, and their passports, packed into the car, and started driving north, toward L’s father’s office.
They took refuge in his office, waiting to hear an accurate report of what had happened. As daylight broke, they heard: a propane plant had exploded. The area was being evacuated.
Relieved that the truth was far more benign than they had originally assumed, they staked out spaces for themselves on various pieces of furniture and tried to sleep. At they were finally allowed to go back to their undamaged house.
Though they ended up sleeping almost until mincha once they finally got to real beds, their experience this Tisha B’Av was in way far more profound than a day, like mine, spent listening to Tisha B'Av appropriate shiurim.
They experienced, firsthand, the fear that characterizes this day in Jewish history. Their eyes witnessed images of destruction that the rest of us only conjured in imagination. They realized that in exile, tragedy is tangible, security nonexistent. Their Tisha B’Av was manifested in action, not just thought.
Thank God, it was a false alarm, and for the most part there were only minor injuries as a result of the explosion--though, tragically, one firefighter perished. May this be the last Tisha B’Av spent in exile; the final year of mourning for the Beis Hamikdash. May our tears next year be tears of joy, as we gather together in
And let’s hope