Tuesday, July 12, 2005

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.


Anonymous said...

beautifully described.

ADDeRabbi said...

it's not easy to feel a loss at not being able offer animal sacrifices (which is the origin of the no-meat 9-days rule).
like wolf posted earlier to day, we can only cry about the fact that we can't cry...

Anonymous said...

ADDeRabbi seems to be correct that the no-meat-or-wine rule relates to the Temple sacrifices, and not to general mourning, since an ordinary mourner (for a relative) is permitted to eat meat and drink wine (and is in fact encouraged to drink wine).

However, the rule prohibiting meat and wine didn't apply for nine days. According to the Mishnah (Ta'anit 4:7), it applies only on erev Tisha B'av. This is further reduced by the Bavli to apply only to the se'udah hamafsekes eaten after noon.

According to Sperber in Minhage Yisrael, the expansion of the prohibition to nine days arose from a misunderstanding. In any case, it can't relate directly to the destruction of the Temple, since in the time of the Bavli, centuries after the destruction, the prohibition only lasted for half a day.