I rarely post privately, and I don't think I've posted in a community in many moons. But this thought might not be appreciated outside of the shtetl.
I had this epiphany the other day relating to the Nine Days.
I was giving a friend a ride to an appointment. I don't really know him very well, we have only spoken but a few words to each other.
But as we drove, apparently he felt a need to speak, to share an idea. He said "You understand why we are made to suffer in this world? So that it will not interfere with our reward in The World to Come."
I had heard this before, so I simply nodded and made approving noises. But in that moment, I thought to myself, "What do you mean? I don't suffer in this world. I'm pretty well off, thank G-d - I have my health, I have a decent enough income, I have as much freedom living in the United States as one could possibly have... what suffering?"
It was at this point that I realized that this is why we can't have
nice things Moshiach.
I will speak for myself and say that I am not worthy of Moshiach. I have grown far too comfortable in my existence. I have become just another guy living life with minimal introspection, with no understanding of what our situation truly is.
We are living in golus. We have no Temple. Our connection to G-d is a constant struggle - we don't see Him or His hand on a daily basis. We are a fragment of a remnant of what we were, and what we have the potential to be. We are decimated, and it only gets worse every year as our people marry out and turn away from the Torah, perfectly happy and content in our daily, 9-to-5 jobs and our middle-class standard of living. The moral fabric of society crumbles around us, and we shrug and don't want to make waves.
A kingdom of priests? A holy people? I don't know about that.
We don't understand what we have lost, what we continue to lose. We need to wake up and think about what is going on in the world and what role we are supposed to be playing.
And for the next few days, we need to start by really trying to understand why it is we fast and mourn on Tisha B'Av. Why we lessen our joy from Rosh Chodesh Av and onward until the Ninth or Tenth. The only way we will merit the redemption is to truly mourn for this loss.
May this Tisha B'av be the beginning of a growing level of awareness of where we are, and where we need to be. No suffering in this world? We don't know the half of it.
Have a meaningful fast.