Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What does Tisha B’Av commemorate?“
Tisha B’Av is a very important and prominent state in the development of creation. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, Tisha B’Av commemorates the ruin of the Holy Temple, i.e., the shattering of the vessels, the state when we lost consciousness (i.e. the shattering or ruin) of our connection as a single entity (i.e. the Holy Temple). In the wisdom of Kabbalah, we learn extensively about this state of shattering and how important it is, because there cannot be correction and connection without corruption and shattering. Therefore, on one hand, there is great joy in the opportunity for correction that the shattering brings us, and on the other hand, there is sorrow and crying from foreseeing the oncoming shattering, knowing that we needed to resist it, i.e. to maintain our connection as a single entity despite the forces emerging to shatter this connection. This coincides with the spiritual principle that, in spirituality, we always encounter two opposites in the same place.
Therefore, together with the joy at the opportunity for correction that the shattering brings us, we need to simultaneously be sorry about all the ruins that have taken place, out of necessity, due to their spiritual root. However, what is the destruction that we need to be sorry about today? It is that today, after the 16th Century, the time of the great Kabbalist, the Ari (Rav Isaac Luria), which marked the beginning of the opening of the process of correction to humanity as a whole, then all we need to be sorry about is our negligence to willfully engage in this process of correction. That is, we shouldn’t be sorry about ruined Holy Temples from 1,000s of years ago, but that each day we fail to actively engage in the process of correction, we fail to build the new Holy Temple—a correction of the shattering in our connections. That is what is truly considered the ruin of the Temples.
Therefore, what do we need to take into consideration during Tisha B’Av? It’s why we cause the ruin and shattering of the Temple today. We shouldn’t cry about what happened 2,000 years ago. We don’t really know what happened back then. By crying about it, it’s as if we position ourselves as great righteous people and think poorly of the people back then, and that they lost the rule of the Temples. What we need to understand is that this ruin played out according to a necessity for a certain order to unfold. However, since the time of the Ari, the 16th Century, when we position ourselves against the process and the method of correction—the wisdom of Kabbalah—then the ruin is the shattering of human relations, the division that is spreading worldwide among humanity. We thus don’t relate to Tisha B’Av as a historical occasion, but as a state that is playing out in our daily lives.