27 July 2012

It won't be long now

8 Menachem Av 5772

Tonight is the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. For Jews the world over it will be both
Tisha b'Av, our national day of mourning, and Shabbat, a day when mourning is forbidden. Therefore, the traditional fast and mourning rituals will be delayed until the following day.

For us, it's not a time for playing games; for acting like a gentile. That's not our world. I pray that all Jews everywhere will take stock of where they are and what they are doing and simply be a Jew. It's very dangerous for a Jew to try be anything else.

For months, the internet has been full of rumors and warnings about a potential terrorist attack on these Olympic games. The year 2012 is itself the subject of rumor and dread. Many are experiencing a sense of impending doom. For the Jewish people, this time of the year always carries a sense of impending doom. Tisha b'Av is the original doomsday - a day on which terrible tragedies have happened to us.

However, the Hebrew prophets foretold that a day would come when Tisha b'Av would become a joyous holiday; a day when Jewish fortunes would change forever and then, it would be the nations' turn for Divine judgment.

The following comes from one of the seven haftarot of consolation which are read following Tisha b'Av:

(Yeshayahu 51:17, 22-23) "Awaken, awaken, arise, Jerusalem, for you have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of His wrath; the dregs of the cup of weakness you have drained. ...So said your Master, the Lord, and your God Who shall judge His people, 'Behold, I took from you the cup of weakness; the dregs of the cup of My wrath-you shall no longer continue to drink it. And I will place it into the hand of those who cause you to wander, who said to your soul, "Bend down and let us cross," and you made your body like the earth and like the street for those who cross.' "

The Prophet Jeremiah follows suit:

(Yirmiyahu 25:15-17;28-29) "For so said the Lord God of Israel to me; Take this cup of the wine of fury from My hand, and you shall give it to all the nations to whom I send you, to drink. And they shall drink and reel to and fro and be like madmen because of the sword that I am sending among them. And I took the cup from the hand of the Lord, and I gave it to all the nations to whom the Lord had sent me, to drink. ...And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, that you shall say to them: So said the Lord of Hosts: You shall surely drink. For behold, with the city upon which My name is called, I commence to bring evil, and shall you be cleared? You shall not be cleared, for I call a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, says the Lord of Hosts.

If Hashem did not even spare His own House and children, how do the nations have any hope of escape from judgment?

The official song of the London 2012 Olympic Games is called "Survival" and it contains some very unusual and disturbing lyrics. Oddly enough, it is performed by a group called Muse. (The Muses were Greek goddesses and the daughters of Zeus, the god most revered at the Olympic games. Even the word "Olympics" refers to Mt Olympus, the home of Zeus on earth.)

Here are the lyrics:

Race, life is race
And I am gonna win
Yes, I am gonna win
I'll light the fuse
And I'll never lose
And I choose to survive
Whatever it takes
You won't pull ahead
I'll keep up the pace
And I will reveal my strength to the whole human race
Yes, I am prepared to stay alive
I won't forgive
Vengeance is mine
,
And I won't give in because I choose to thrive

And I am going to win

Race, it's a race
And I'm gonna win, Yes I am gonna win
And I will light the fuse
And I'll never lose
And I choose to survive
Whatever it takes
You won't pull ahead
Because I'll keep up the pace
And I will reveal my strength to the whole human race
Yes I am going to win.

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
Win! Win! Win! Win!
YES I'M GOING TO WIN.