The Pain and the Joy of Tisha B'Av

The Pain and the Joy of Tisha B'Av

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The first half of this month is a time when the Jewish people mourn, not just in our hearts but in our bodies. We don't travel, swim, do laundry etc. We take on practices to help us feel the pain of exile - from land, from the Divine and from ourselves. And yet the day that is the pinnacle of all sadness and mourning (Tisha b'Av) will one day be the day when the birth of redemption takes place. 

This tension, between pain and joy and exile and redemption, reminds me of birth. The same day we physically contract, we physically expand. The same day our wombs were full, they are now empty. The same day life entered this world, the prospect of death did too. 

Tisha b'Av is as much about birth as it is about death and perhaps that is also what we are mourning: there is no birth without death, and there is no expansion without contraction. 

I am blessed that in my heritage, we have the opportunity to grieve this truth. Since we have time, space and ritual to sit in this challenging reality, it gives us the courage to open ourselves up and surrender to it. And by surrendering to it, we just might be able to appreciate it.

I think it's this very appreciation that will lead us through the most intense birth canal of all... that of a new world.

 The tea for this month is cooling and soothing. She helps balance out the heat of this time, grounding us so that we absorb the lessons of the season. She has: Peppermint, Fennel, Rose and Holy Basil

Ariela Sharon (@olam_mama) is a Jewish Birth Educator and Doula living in Pardes Chana, Israel.

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