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    Horror or hope? – Tishah B’Av

    Eli TzionAfter the long series of kinnot or dirges that characterise Tishah B’Av morning, there comes a poem that begins Eli Tziyyon, “Let Zion and her cities wail”.

    Its rhyme and rhythm are simple and uncomplicated and have inspired modern versions that commemorate the Holocaust.

    Probably the element that has given the poem its constant popularity is its melody, yet the melody seems inaptly triumphant. It has a mood of joy and delight despite the gravity of the words.

    Yet nobody would change the melody once they are used to it. Not just because of the tune, but because of the message.

    Jews have always mixed laughter and tears. In the midst of tragedy we never stopped believing in a hopeful future.

    Whatever history brought us, we never lost our optimism, and that is Eli Tziyyon “to a tee”, less a commemoration of catastrophe than a hymn of hope.

    Baruch HaShem the hope has begun to be realised in the creation of Israel.

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