Machon reflects, the power of “amen”
After the whole camp commemorated Tisha B'Av this evening, Machon took the opportunity to reflect on this day of loss and recovery. In small groups, we discussed the history and meaning of this day, as well as the value of taking advantage of transformative moments like Tisha B'Av. Together we reflected on losses we've lost both individually and as a community, including what it has meant to us as American youth to have grown up post 9/11. Then, since Tisha B'Av is as much about recovery as it is about destruction, we studied closely the text of Mourner's Kaddish and discovered that it in fact has nothing to do with mourning and loss, but rather praises God. While this appears to be counter-intuitive, we learned why this may be for two reasons: on one hand, one camper suggested, this prayer may offer a mourner just the spiritual boost he/she needs at a time of waning faith. Additionally, perhaps it is the structure of the prayer more than the content that helps us cope with loss. Simply the opportunity for a community to stand with a mourner and offer the word "amen" in response to prayer sends a strong message of consolation and support from a community. So how is it that Jews respond to destruction and adversity? We stand together, and we say "amen."
As we enter our final week-and-a-half together in Machon, we look forward to more opportunities to say Amen to each other as we support our fellows Machoners in their endeavors as well as through their struggles.