The S&P Downgrade and Tisha B’Av: A Spiritual Lesson From a Day of Calamity

stock market

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.

Related posts

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  • Elle (Tzipporah) says on August 9, 2011

    So well put.

  • Edyta says on August 12, 2011

    Hi Alison, I am writing it from Poland. I have found your site about a week ago and can’t stop reading it!
    I work in big American corporation which calculates investment funds. Last week was crazy! I was thinking about those people who lost so much money and had no idea what to do next with their lifes. It so sad thah so many of us define ourselves by material things we possess…

  • Kaylah Deem says on February 5, 2012

    Thank you for your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.


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