Parshas Devorim 5758 - '98

Outline Vol. 2, # 39

by Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein

Chodshei Hashanah Vol. 2, Part 24

Tisha B'av

This issue has been dedicated anonymously in honor of the recent Yahrzeit of Rav Avraham ben Harav Yehoshua Heschel Eichenstein, z’tzal, Admor of Zediitchov\Chicago, who was niftar on the 22nd of Tamuz, 5727

The Likutei Torah contends that failure to recite Birkas Hatorah (blessing recited before study) cannot literally be the cause of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. Rather, the intention is that they failed to daven -- pray -- before beginning their studies. Prayer, essentially, is dependent on hisbonenus -- contemplation.

We find a similar idea in the verses of the Torah. In the section of the curses, a single reason for the Jewish People’s troubles is pronounced: “Because you did not serve... with simchah (rejoicing)...” The Likutei Torah questioned: How can this be a requirement, to such an extent that all the people suffered because they were missing this happiness? Service with rejoicing is for the great tzadikim (righteous people)!

The answer is that everyone loves life, and the source of life. By nature, we love our chance to live and seek opportunities. Our true feelings, however, may become clouded by the burdens and pressures of our daily activites. Since, however, everyone does love life and the source of life, it becomes imperative to find an avenue to express our feelings, to realize and actualize them.

Contemplate. Take the time to consider, to ponder. Examine the beautiful intricacies of the universe, and admire the Ultimate Source. One will certainly come to a feeling of gratitude and wonder. For delving into Torah studies without the preparation, without the contemplation, without prayer -- the people would end up becoming so mournful, that they would be unable to study.

Yaakov Avinu referred to prayer as his weapon. What does prayer have to do with war? Yes, one must fight and struggle within one’s self -- to find the method to express one’s love and gratitude. (Based on Likutei Torah, Parshas Re’eh, Ki Savo, and elsewhere)

The Final Holiday

The Shem Mishmuel discussed the words of the Talmud, that the final plight of the people will be so profound as to cause the other troubles to be all but forgotten. The holidays of the final redemption, too, will be the main ones, and the Pesach -- celebration from the Egyptian Servitude -- will become secondary. The final holidays presumably refer to today’s fast days. The main fast of mourning, of course, is the Ninth of Av. It follows that the main holiday will be the Ninth of Av, as well.

Shabbos is a time that is entirely good. The pressures of the week are reversed. The time of day which symbolizes judgment and severity -- during the week -- occurs late in the afternoon. On Shabbos, this time becomes the most precious time of favor -- the third meal of Shabbos.

The Yehudi Hakodesh said that the Shabbosim during the three weeks of mourning are each, in their entirety, akin to this precious time. Since the three week period entirely constitutes judgment and severity, the Shabbosim during this period are especially favorable. (Shem Mishmuel, Parshas Masai)

This year, when the Ninth of Av falls on a Shabbos, the fast is postponed until the next day. On Shabbos, most of the laws of the three weeks do not apply. It is almost like that futuristic time when the Ninth of Av will become a Yom Tov... except that we know that, immediately following the Shabbos, will be the severe fast...

Shiva Includes Shabbos

Shabbos is an internal day of reflection. The poskim (legal authorities) discuss, how it is that outward, public forms of mourning are not permitted on Shabbos, but those mourning practices involving private matters are observed on Shabbos. The reason is that, unlike Yom Tov, Shabbos is a day of quiet contemplation, which is not contradicted by certain acts of restraint. Yom Tov, however, is a day of simchah -- outward rejoicing, which is incompatible with any form of sadness.

Thus, when a mourner finds that Yom Tov comes during his mourning period, the mourning is cancelled. Shabbbos, however, inevitably occurs during the seven days of mourning -- “Shiva.” Shabbos does not halt the mourning process, but merely suspends all public appearances of mourning.

Since Shabbos is a time for quiet contemplation, and the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of lack of contemplation, the Shabbos of the Ninth of Av should be an ideal time to consider our plight. Our unity was the Service, but today the “Service” is a great source of disunity. If only we would merit a unity of spirit, a renewal of heart, a rebuilding of the One House of Service. In order for all of Israel to come home, though, each person must begin at home.

The Time of Favor

Reishis Chochah lists reasons why one should not become angry. One point on the list: When angry, a person cannot be truly merciful. Perhaps someone will approach who needs your sympathy; if you are truly angry, you will be unable to help. Yes, it states in regard to Hashem: “Brogez Rachiem Tizkor,” -- “In anger, remember with mercy!” This is a quality of Hashem, but it is not found among people.

These are beautiful words. They tell me why I musn’t become angry; at the same time, they teach me about Hashem’s anger. Hashem may show His Mercy through his Wrath.

Shabbos is a time of favor and will; it is especially so during the three weeks. On this Shabbos of Favor, we will contemplate, and thereby build our own Single House. Knowing that the severe fast will follow Shabbos, we will silently ask: “Brogez Rachiem Tizkor,” -- “In anger, remember with mercy!”

Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
Kollel of Kiryas Radin
11 Kiryas Radin
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Phone: (914) 362-5156
E-mail: [email protected]

Good Shabbos!

Text Copyright © '98 Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein and Project Genesis, Inc.

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