Parshas Devorim 5758 - '98
Outline Vol. 2, # 39
by Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
Chodshei Hashanah Vol. 2, Part 24
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
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
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
Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
Kollel of Kiryas Radin
11 Kiryas Radin
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Phone: (914) 362-5156
Text Copyright © '98 Rabbi
Yaakov Bernstein and Project Genesis, Inc.