Another Reason To Mourn During The 9 Days

It’s the 9 Days.

Which is part of the Three Weeks

Which leads up to Tisha B’av, the day the Temple was destroyed.

But I’m sure you knew that. I know it too.


Someone messaged me yesterday and told me I need to write more about Jewish love, about Ahavas Yisrael.

He asked me why I didn’t in my last post.

I didn’t have an answer.

Although it was obvious enough, wasn’t it?

Life, and all that. Things to do, mission to accomplish, kids to take care of, projects to accomplish.

But maybe it’s not the obvious, maybe it wasn’t just the waters of life hitting me.

Because I didn’t even want to want to help Jews feel more connected to each other. It didn’t even strike me, didn’t even pass through my mind.


Then today, I found out about an young ex-hasidic woman, Faigy Mayer, who took her own life last night.

I have a few friends in that community, and I saw them mourning and crying on Facebook.

They mentioned that she had posted pictures of her and her family on Facebook shortly before the moment. And that her family hadn’t allowed her to have any pictures from the time she was religious because they were afraid she would use it in a book to hurt their community.

And as I saw people cursing out her family, and crying over her, I remembered what that man had written me.


Because the truth is that even when he wrote me, I kind of brushed it aside. “You’re right! But it’s too late now, I guess!”

Too late. I feel like that’s a word we use a lot. It’s too late to help this young lady. It’s too late to save the second temple. It’s too late to repair the mistakes we’ve made.

And of course it’s true.

And of course it’s not.

I could have decided in that moment he wrote me to write about loving our fellow Jews, found some space in my heart, in my mind to make it a priority, during these troubling times for all Jews.

Last year, we had the war during this time. Last year, we had many tragedies in the Chabad community strike during this time.

It was too late to avert those tragedies, but we all knew something else: it wasn’t too late to do something. To fight for love.

The second temple can’t be rebuilt, but a third can be built. We can’t repair past mistakes but we can use the pain of those mistakes as fuel to push us to confront the same situation in the future with renewed vigor.

And… we can’t do anything about Faigy. But we can cry for her, even if we didn’t know her. And we can talk about why it happened, when we’re ready. And we can reach out to the community we’ve so ignored and tell them we care about them, and we’re sorry, and we will do everything in our power to create a culture in which even the ones who leave are not ostracized, not demonized, not getting a thousand angry comments every time they write their story for the world to hear.

We can do all those things, and interestingly enough, the third will help us achieve both.

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What that man said to me, it came a day before today, and yet it feels like an eternity now.  Because when I found out about Faigy it seemed as if I had entered another dimension, one in which I was reminded about what really matters.

And the only thing that connects me to yesterday is that man’s message.

“Write about love for another Jew,” he said.

Like a rope, it’s saving me from flowing down a stream of utter despair, utter sadness, and maybe also leading to a boiling pit of anger.


When a tragedy happens, my Facebook newsfeed fills with Chabad house shluchim, with rabbis, with just holy people calling for us to do a mitzvah, to do something to bring back some light into this world.

It’s the 9 Days.

Which is part of the Three Weeks

Which leads up to Tisha B’av, the day the Temple was destroyed.

But I’m sure you knew that. I know it too.

But now that Faigy is gone, we can truly know it. We can feel it. And we can use it.

To be our own Chabad house, our own holy people, to say, “This is a tragedy, and it’s our job to create light from it.”


The first way to create light is that we as Jews should all acknowledge that her death is just as tragic as any other’s, and we should mourn with those from her community. We should erase the barriers that seem to exist between us when we do. We shouldn’t push this out of our minds and off our newsfeeds.

The second is that we should use it to create more dialogue, and to educate ourselves, about what we can each do to understand this community and their choices. To refuse to be taken in by the people who choose to demonize them.

The third is that we should realize how much power we each have as Jews to love each other, to create bonds with those that may seem the hardest to create bonds with. That we can overcome our inner anger and limitations and to see the love even in the communities that seem in opposition to our own.


These moments of extreme despair, of utter sorrow, are vortexes in time. Like the war of last year, and the tragedies that befell the Chabad community, they are like sinkholes that suck us down into the secrets of reality and force us to accept what really matters.

It’s unfortunate that for most of us, for me, at least, when I spend too much time on the surface, I forget all about it. I make jokes about cheese during the Nine Days. I ignore the despair I should be feeling about living in a broken world, one in which a life full of promise can get sniffed out in a moment, or where people are unnecessarily divided by hate and anger.

But if we used these moments to be angry about our own failures, nothing would be accomplished and it would be a wasted moment.

Soon the sinkhole will rise and we’ll be back on the surface where the grass appears green and happiness seems to come from a screen.


Today Faigy  is gone. Most of us probably hadn’t even heard of her until now.

But through her friends, through her community, through the people that valued her, we can see that we’ve lost a spark of unimaginable infinitude.

And we can use this energy, this moment, to try and light our own sparks, to try and repair so many broken things.

We’re in the sinkhole now.

But maybe if we work hard enough, we can finally go beyond the ground level, build a temple of unimaginable beauty where all are welcome, where all are loved, where disagreements are shoved aside, and hearts pulsate in unison.