Until recently, I never really understood the No Eating Meat part. I mean, let's face it, cold showers, no haircuts, and no clean clothes definitely make sense when we are in a mourning period. But no meat? Eh. Who cares. I could live on pasta. And so could most of us. Again, until recently.
Until recently, I never understood why my mother would shell out a ridiculous amount of cash every week for Shabbos for a nice big brisket. Because it is meat. And I have six brothers. And chicken just don't cut it.
Until recently, BAW used to silently suffer during the 9 days while we all enjoyed our spaghetti, fettuchini, salmon, fish and chips, ziti, lasagna, quiche, french toast, you name it. But not anymore. Suddenly, his minions have grown. Suddenly there is a choir of hungry men chiming in already kvetching about the lack of meat. "You mean, no hot dogs? What about burgers? Meatballs? Turkey? Schnitzel?! I need meat! I can't be without meat! I'll be hungry! I'll starve! I could die!" These are some serious concerns in our house.
The bottom line here is that Men Love Meat. Some men love sports, some men love cars, some men love money, but all men love meat. I dare you to think of 3 male vegetarians you know. I can't even come up with one.
So although they are still young, and may not fully understand the state of calamity that we Jews are in even today in 2011, not to mention during the destruction of our Holy Temples, I hope that the lesson will start to become clear. We are giving up something that we really, really love because we lost something that we should be remembering and yearning for every single day. Something that we really, really love, and more importantly something that we really, really need.
May Hashem turn our time of mourning and sorrow to happiness and rejoicing.