Today is Tisha Be-Av, the Ninth of the month of Av, and Jews all over the world are fasting in mourning for the destruction of the first and the second temples, which coincidentally happened on this day according to the Jewish (Persian) lunar calendar. It is very hot in Kever Benjamin Land, and I had to work, so I allowed myself to drink coffee. I had a meeting in the mall project with the engineer of the supermarket chain that will rent two floors, and it was a very unsatisfactory conversation since he wants fire fighting systems which have been left to the end. Then I drove to a factory in the industrial area of the City of Ariel. The plant is ten years old and they had added a second unit and bought lots of large machines. To start up the process, they need industrial electricity connection for the ABB blower shown in the pic. Somehow they electric corporation cannot give them the connection without clearing their legal situation. In Israel, any additional building (such as the 1800 sq.m. factory addition) needs about a dozen permits - before actually building anything. Currently they are under a court order of closure, having spent the many years everybody gets in Israel to regularize their status, from the planning commission to the environmental authorities. The owners assumed they could pressure the Major of the city without actually having the ten or fifteen different permits required by law. To increase the pressure, they started to sack workers and phoned the Major that the fate of those unlucky workers rest on his conscience. The Major went crazy since he is being accused by the world (I am not exaggerating too much) and actually being criminally prosecuted for promoting "illegal" building in the the so called occupied territories, illegal settlements on lands conquered by war and what not, so he must be ultra careful in the minucious implementation of all the bureaucratic procedures. I took part in a phone conference where the excited Major shouted that he will send his bulldozers to destroy the factory if the factory's legal situation is not normalized - today. I promised to submit the plans in one week, more or less.
The Gemarah has a cute story why the temple was destroyed (by Titus, a friendly pro-Judean Roman general and future emperor): It was because of שינת חינם - pointless hate, Jew hating Jew for no reason at all. All started because one made a banquet and forgot to invite another one. Venomous hate that examined, has no rational cause. Is this a penitential fast? No. We cannot make penitence for something that happened two thousand years ago. Is it a meditational fast? Not really, since it is a day when we work. It is a commemorative fast: We mourn for the glory that was Judah and it is no more. But the real explanation was given by my Haredi uncle Moyshe who said: I do it because that is what Jews do, and I am a Jew.