I’ve had a lot of time to think about the impact of a birthday on Tisha B’av. Today is not only the day where we contemplate the darkness in the world, whether it is the destruction of the Temple or the explusion from Spain, or England, or the stock market down turn, or even the baseless hatred that seems to be ever prevalent in our society. It is also the day on the Jewish Calendar that 4 years ago I buried my grandfather and little did I know spend one of the last days with my father alive. And, as I’m always reminded, it is the yahrtzeit of my great grandfather. As one who tends to remember dates and see commonalities in life events, this all brings me to think about the torn feeling between the darkness of the day and wanting so badly to celebrate my birthday.
And if this were my 30th birthday, I’m not sure I could find a happy ground.
But, this is 29, and this is just another day. As the darkness of the world might feel overwhelming at times, the lights last night by which we read Eicha and the lights on my cake after sundown are a welcome source of light into my next year.
And yes, I am missing my breakfast in bed, and the free food and treats at local restaurants, but those are a luxury. This birthday I am reminded of the children around the world who spend every birthday without a special treat or a cake. I am feeling blessed with the friends and family who are here to celebrate with me, with knowing that i know where my next meal will come from, for the blessing of my job and the community that I live in, and knowing that no matter how dark the world feels today, tomorrow is always a new day.
Hello Rabbi Eve Posen,
My daughter’s 5th birthday is on 8/11 which coincides with Tish B’av this year.
Can we celebrate her birthday on that day or choose a different day?
Lyuba- that decision is really up to you. Observant Jews would generally not have their party on that day. Some have a tradition of ending their fast at Mincha (afternoon service), but still hold the rest of the rituals of mourning for the day. Might there be a compromise of celebrating your daughter and her birth as a family that day while also postponing the party to a different day?