Yesterday was Tisha B'av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. While technically you're allowed to work, it's not the time for cat videos and Country Music (hmmm, perhaps some Country Music is sad enough to make the cut). My first thought was that I could put on some downtempo tunes and have that in the background. But then it occurred to me I could probably do better. Why not put on some Tisha B'av related YouTube material? That would not only give me some background chatter, but would help me stay plugged into the topic at hand.
Here's 3 videos I found especially useful.
First, here's a discussion of the "first" Tisha B'av, the biblical event that's supposed to be at very root of Tisha B'Av. While the video does contain a bit of cheesy clip art, on the whole it's really well produced.
Next, here's a terrific reading of Eicha, the book of Lamentations, with some commentary between the chapters. Even if you're not interested in Tisha B'av per se, and don't understand Hebrew, it's still worth listening to a bit of the chanting of Eicha. Jump to say 11 minutes in to see what I mean. It's amazing how just the style of reading can help evoke a mood of sadness and despair. Perfect for Tisha B'av.
Finally, there's this 4 1/2 hour epic Kinot session by Rabbi Steven Weil. Kinnot have been described to me as durges or liturgical poems, but Rabbi Weil's discussion really brings them to life. With Rabbi Weil commentary, these poems become stories that one can connect with, and begin to appreciate their depth and meaning. And at 4 1/2 hours with no food or water, that's one amazing performance.
My suggestion: don't listen to any of these today. Just come back Saturday, July 25th, 2015 for the next Tisha B'Av and listen then.