The S&P Downgrade and Tisha B’Av: A Spiritual Lesson From a Day of Calamity
Last week, the stock market took its biggest hit in three years. Then today, after news of the S&P downgrade, it got clobbered even further. This all happened on the cusp of the saddest, least auspicious day of the Jewish calendar year – Tisha B’Av. Some of the most cataclysmic events in Jewish history occurred on this day – murder, destruction, exile, expulsion – the worst moments our people have ever known.
We mourn on Tisha B’Av for everything we’ve lost, but the second half of the day turns to hope, because we know that despite the lows our people have seen, we’re ultimately headed for some place good. While watching a stock chart the other day, I got to thinking about how when you zero in on just one day of trading, the ups and downs can seem pretty intense. But if you pull back to a five day snapshot, a one month snapshot, and certainly a one year snapshot, suddenly those spikes that looked so sharp close up, look more like little blips from afar.
So too, when it comes to the history of our people, the intensity of the struggles must be viewed with similar perspective. That’s not meant to take away from the depth of the challenges we’re faced with, but rather to remind us that even when it seems as though we’re headed towards a bottomless pit of pain and suffering, our ultimate trajectory is upwards. Let’s just hope the same can be said about the Dow Jones Industrial Average.