A Call to Teshuva
A fast day is a time for teshuva (repentance), especially bein adam lachaveiro (in the realm of interpersonal relationships). "Surely this is the fast I choose: to break open the shackles of wickedness, to undo the bonds of injustice, and to let the oppressed go free, and annul all perversion. Surely, you should break your bread for the hungry and bring the mourning poor to your home..." (Yeshaya 58:6-7)
Aveilus (mourning) is also a time for teshuva. "One who does not mourn as the Sages commanded is a cruel person. He ought to fear, worry, scrutinize his actions and repent." (Rambam Hil. Aveilus, 13:12).
Aveilus and ta'anis (fast day) converge on Tisha Be'av. Thus, Tisha Be'av is a time for personal and communal introspection and teshuva.
This year as Tisha Be'av approaches, Kelal Yisroel faces an eis tzarah (a time of crisis) of great proportions. Regardless of one's political stance regarding disengagement, this Tisha Be'av must be a day of hisorarus le'teshuva (awakening to teshuva). We should not look to pass time; we need to seize the opportunity for teshuva.
May Hakadosh Baruch Hu grant peace and security to our brethren in Eretz Yisroel and throughout the world.
Rabbi Michael Rosensweig
Rabbi Hershel Schachter
Rabbi Mayer Twersky
Rabbi Mordechai Willig