Lions are among the most powerful and majestic creatures out there. Since ancient times, the lion has been depicted as the king of beasts. Unfortunately, lions also like to sleep a lot—twenty hours a day on average. I say unfortunate, because this week we celebrate the saddest day on the Jewish calendar: the ninth of Av.
Ever since the spies brought back their slanderous reports to our ancestors in the desert, and our nation was condemned to wander for the next forty years, the ninth of Av has been marked for tragedy. It is the day on which both the first and second Temples were destroyed, the inhabitants of the great Jewish city of Beitar were massacred, and even the expulsion of the Jews from Spain concluded on this tragic day . . .
But within tragedy there is hope. Regarding this day, the Midrash says, "The lion [Nebuchadnezzar] came, under the constellation of the lion [the month of Av], and destroyed the lion [Holy Temple], in order that the Lion [G‑d] shall come, under the constellation of the lion, and build the lion."
During our long and harsh exile, the awaited Lion appears asleep. But looks can be deceiving. As some have learned the hard way, lions are never truly asleep. They keep one eye open, ready to be aroused by the slightest scent or movement.
So, let us join together and finally arouse the sleeping Lion through our mitzvahs, meriting the fulfillment of the prophecy "I shall transform their mourning day to joy."
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team