Gaza will soon be empty of Jews. Whether the decision to render it so was wisdom or folly, whether it marked the beginning of a more stable Middle East or a more volatile one, whether it served to empower Palestinians considered moderate or to encourage those proven to be murderous, are questions now being addressed with passion. History will one day address them with hindsight.

But the human tragedy of the withdrawal is undeniable. Those of us who have never been compelled to leave our homes, the fields we planted and harvested, the synagogues in which we prayed and studied, the cemeteries in which our loved ones are buried, cannot claim to truly appreciate the agony of those who lived in Gaza, and now no longer do. Those displaced families, noble and loving of the land, deserve our deepest sympathy and concern.

Yet, despite it all, what no believing Jew may feel in the wake of the Gaza withdrawal is despair. Traumas like that of the past weeks should never be permitted to obscure a larger picture, the true one. It is a picture well framed by its timing.

Events in Gaza reached their crescendo and denouement at an appropriate season of the Jewish year: the mournful days leading up to Tisha B'Av, and then, that sorrowful day itself. Equally apt, though, was -- and is -- the assurance of Jewish tradition that, in the dark damp of Tisha B'Av's tragedy, the seeds of Jewish redemption quietly sprout.