Sunday, July 15, 2007

Not eating meat during the 9 days, how should we feel?

I have seen 2 reactions to no meat during the 9 days. One is to whine about how hard it is and the other is to say how easy it is and it is great as someone once said and best of all, there's always ice cream or cheese cake for desert.

Both of these attitudes completely miss the point of not eating meat during the 9 days. The point of not eating meat is for us to feel sad and feel the aveilus for the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. To whine about it shows that you missed the point. You should accept it as a hardship and use the hardship to think about why you are doing this.

Those who feel that it is easy and great and they get to eat ice cream all the time, are also missing the whole point. They may be doing the minhag but by Aveilus there is supposed to be a kiyum balev, you are supposed to feel something. These people feel no aveilus because they are not eating meat, in fact they are happy. This is a perversion of the minhag. The minhagim are supposed to help you feel aveilus, if they don't you should do something else that will help you feel the aveilus as well.

I know it is very hard for us, but during the 9 days a person is supposed to feel very sad about the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, that is the main thing, the minhagim are supposed to help us reach that state.


Ben-Yehudah said...

B"H Good Points. One of my pet peeves is when I see these "9 Days Vegetarian Specials." What's up with that?? Look. If you have to grab a quick falafel in order to sustain yourself, that's one thing. But are Jews doing at fancy restaurant, eating vegetarian or fish gourmet?? IMHO, they're missing the point.

DrMike said...

Good points raised. It culminates in the attitude on Tisha B'av of figuring out how much longer the fast is going to last instead of concentrating on the reason you're fasting in the first place or going to work to make the time pass by quicker.
However, I can think of one important reason we don't response to the lack of meat like we should. Until the last century, meat was a luxury. Nowadays its commonplace and has lost its sense of being special. It's gone even further with its reputation of being unhealthy in many cases. Thus, taking it out of one's diet for 9 days isn't the same as it once was.
We should concentrate on the reasons, not the actual actions, to remind ourselves of the meaning of this time of year.