I haven’t been thinking enough about the significance of the Nine Days, but so far I seem to have been unconsciously avoiding the questionable stuff anyway. We’re vegetarians anyhow, and we finally seemed to catch up on the laundry on Sunday, and to be honest I haven’t actually been crafting this week either (not that I’ve asked our Rav about the last, and from what I’ve seen online and heard in person there is a lot of variation in what people are told is good/bad to do in this regard). Still, though, avoiding such things should be for a reason, rather than just by default, so perhaps this afternoon I’ll pull out (at very least) The Book of Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov and reread the appropriate sections.
One of the places I took my mother to see was the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, which covers the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount and the southern end of the Western Wall (officially I believe it’s larger, but that’s what’s on this site), and that’s definitely an appropriate place to visit/see before and during this period. I have more pictures (see bottom of this post) from when I went in February with a friend however, although none of them are specifically of the Second Temple era remains. It’s a fascinating place to visit even if you aren’t especially interested in the religious aspects. The Byzantine, Ottoman, Crusader and other buildings being all practically on top of each other really gives a sense of the history. The information centre has some good displays too, as well as a couple of rather cheesy videos that nevertheless give a sense of what went on in and around the Temple, and the archaeology undertaken on the site. (The latter is still going on, by the way, and in February my friend and I got a few minutes chatting with one of the women working on it.)
Here’s the thing: being Orthodox Jewish in Jerusalem (especially living in a religious area in Jerusalem) is very easy in very many ways, but sometimes that makes it too easy to forget what we’re missing, all the aspects of Judaism that we just can’t do, that in so many ways we’re still in exile. This is far more philosophical than I generally get on the blog (or often enough IRL either), but if not now, when?