These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on October 1, 2012 by David Bogomolny

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I credit this quote to Dr. Viktor Frankl, having read his book (a must read), but first heard this idea from my mentor Aryeh Ben David:

Source: via Rocio on Pinterest


To paraphrase:

The only thing you can control is your attitude.

Some years ago I was sitting with a teacher, learning about the fast of Tisha B’Av, and trying to come up with reasons for why one might fast. I recalled another lesson – about Yom Kippur – and said, “when we fast, we are like angels because we are forgoing our physical needs.”

My teacher looked at me solemnly, and responded, “that’s on Yom Kippur. Tisha B’Av is different; it is associated with mourning.” 

I was disappointed at being wrong, but more than that – I was surprised. After all, the primary restrictions of Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur are identical. How could the two major Jewish fast days share the same restrictions, but lead us to different emotional experiences?

For me, the simple lesson of this comparison is that Chazal wanted us to reflect upon the power of our intentions – the major fast days of Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av are not simply about restrictions – they’re about developing a consciousness around our attitudes.