Tisha B'Av, the Ninth of Av, is the day that is set aside for calamities.

The 10 spies. The first Temple is burned. The second Temple is burned. Bar Kochva revolt is crushed. Crusades. Expulsion from England. Expulsion from Spain. Outbreak of World War 1. Liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Throughout the years of Jewish history, this period of time, especially the 9th of Av, have been difficult and painful days. We know that it traces back to the sin of sending spies into Israel and believing their reports that we couldn't succeed in entering that great land. What was it about the spies that was so much more unforgivable than even the Golden Calf built at the foot of Mt Sinai, a mere 40 days after hearing God speak?

Since Abraham discovered God, he and his descendants awaited the opportunity to settle permanently in the Land of Israel. God promised that there would be challenges along the way, but that we would get there and with abundant riches. After 400 years of wandering and suffering, the day finally came. We triumphantly left Egypt and headed to the desert to get the Torah, a prerequisite for the entering the land.

Just forty days later, we stumbled. Thinking that Moshe had died, as humans do, we replaced him with a golden statue. Gold lasts forever, after all, and we needed something to help us connect to God. The mistake was twofold. First of all, we don't need a go-between; we can talk to God directly. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, we can't decide on the best way to serve God. Only through approved and commanded service can we come to God. But this was a mistake that God was able to forgive, and after two more 40-day stints in the mountain, we got new tablets.

After spending almost a year at the foot of the mountain studying, it was finally time to enter the Land of Israel. But wait. Suddenly the most stubborn people the world has seen were worried. We wanted to send spies to check out the land and see if we could really conquer it. Ten out of twelve spies reported that the inhabitants were too strong and we couldn't do it. That night, the Jewish people forgot that we were never going to fight just with our swords, but that God, who created the land to begin with, was going to do all the heavy lifting for us. All night the people cried that God hates us and we will die in the desert.

God told the Jewish people, "You cried tonight for no reason, I will give you generations of crying for good reason." This is something a frustrated human parent says, not what we expect from an infinite God. What really happened? What was worse about this sin, and what is the meaning of this response?

That night, when we cried, the unforgivable had occurred. We forgot that God loves us and is personally involved and arranging our lives in the best possible ways. After everything He had done for us, we forgot. The absolute trust we displayed in accepting the Torah was gone. We declared that God's Word wasn't enough for us, and that we didn't believe He would continue to help.

"You cried because you imagined I wasn't in your side," says God. "I will show you what life looks like when I'm not on your side." This wasn't a frustrated response by a parent who ran out of patience; this was God saying, "I can only be as close to you as you let me. If you push me away, you will see what life is like without My involvement."

As the Torah says, "If you walk with Me casually (as if events happen randomly, without My involvement), I will walk with you casually." God is only going to give us the personalized attention that we need in order to survive to the degree that we let Him into our lives and recognize His control over us. Because He gives us free will, it’s up to us to choose the degree of the relationship. He is waiting for us to open our hearts to His love. We need to let Him in.

Only then will the holy Temple be rebuilt. Only then will we see the fulfillment of the promise, "I will bring them to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer… for My house shall be called A house of prayer for all peoples."