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Bring healing by reaching out to others

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The saddest period of our year known as the “three weeks” has just commenced, and culminates with Tisha B’Av on 18 July. We remember the violent destruction of our holy Temples, and the exilic consequences which have long endured ever since. Yet, we view this time as an opportunity to awaken our hearts.

During this period of mourning, there is a traditional expression that people offer each other as a wish that “these days be transformed into joy and happiness”. We recognise why it’s a sad time lest we forget what used to be, but we also realise that sadness is most certainly not our goal.

The challenge for us is to seize this perception, seeing it as a unique annual window of opportunity to engage in concrete acts of kindness to help bring about absolute transformation. We know that the best way to bring healing to our world is with care and concern for others, as the cause of the destruction was wanton animosity, as taught by our sages.

As we are all back in lockdown, now is a good time to reflect. The Torah tells us, “It’s not good for a person to be alone” and to feel isolated. Support of family or friends is an indispensable need of the human condition.

If you are in a position that enables giving, please seize this opportunity to give what you can to someone less fortunate than yourself. If you are in a position that requires asking, please don’t be embarrassed to ask. We are, fortunately, a community with so many wonderful organisations and resources that can help anyone who needs it.

Everyone experiences highs and lows throughout life, and even if one is now in a position that requires them to ask and to lean on others for support, remember that the tables turn and in time, it may be that very person who will be the one to support others who are in need of support. That’s what being human is about, and it’s certainly what being Jewish is about.

Even if it sounds clichéd, when there’s little a friend or family member can do practically to help, one should never underestimate the benefit of a shoulder to cry on – just someone who can be there to listen.

Now is a time to tap into the redemptive power to transform this time of sadness into joy. These are called “days of goodwill before the G-d”. We reach upward for strength to reconstruct spiritual and national unity, deepening our closeness with Hashem to hasten Moshiach’s arrival.

We can and will get through this together, even though we are apart.

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