Aug 1, 2011

The Pilot Light is Always On

It's the 9 Days and there are many things we do or not do to mourn the Mikdash.  How do we balance this with the injunction to serve Hashem with simcha? Should simcha be put on hold at this time of the year?

I heard a nice mashal to answer this.  If you remember the old gas stoves, you know that they had a pilot light inside that was always on, even if you hadn't turned on any of the fires to do some cooking.  So too, our simcha always has to be there, in the background, even as we are in this more somber time.  Perhaps a good modern version of this mashal would be putting your computer into a sleep state or hibernation when it's not completely off, or those programs that run in the background while you're working on something else.

So like the smiley face in the oven picture above, keep smiling!


  1. My question is this:
    I have a son whose birthday is the 8th of Av. His birth, which occurred 3 hours before Tisha b'Av, was a happy occasion, made even happier because I was exempt from fasting. Should I call and sing Happy Birthday or should I skip the song because it is goyish? Is it in the spirit of the 9 days or should we say that we have to ignore this happy occasion until after the fast? Every year I am in turmoil over this because I want to be happy about his splendid birthday but we are busy dipping our bread in some ashes. I send humorous cards to one of his older brothers (the other would require too much postage) but not to him. Is this correct behavior?

  2. The question about singing the Happy Birthday song applies to all your children so why not ask a rav about the goyish aspect of it as well as how to mark his birthday on erev Tisha B'Av?

  3. The camp used to allow a siyum but that was the form that his birthday party had to take.