The first of the nine days of mourning for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem has just started. I have baked my Nine-Day Pie, as I do every year, and I am repeating this post to commemorate one of the most tragic events in Jewish history.
Traveling through the streets of Paris with his entourage, Napoleon passed a synagogue and heard heart-wrenching wailing from within.
“Why are my Jews crying? – asked the emperor, – What happened to them?
“Sire, – rushed an aide-de-camp, “they are lamenting the destruction of their Temple.”
“What? Their Temple was destroyed and nobody told me? Where? When?”
“Your Majesty, I believe it occurred about seventeen hundred years ago in Jerusalem, and every year on that day they get together, fast, and mourn their loss.”
“Alors, – exclaimed Napoleon, “people who remember their past as if it happened just now, will definitely live to see their future!”
So says the Gemorrah (Taanis), that all who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit to rejoice in its rebuilding. This story has been circulating in many variations and various settings, including the Russian Tzar and the Vilna Gaon, but the truth of…
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