Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Av 5764 - July 21, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Now is the Time for Mourning

There are plenty of things in the world today for us to worry about. There is the general decline in morality of the West, which expresses itself in so many areas. The West is certainly sliding down a very slippery slope that can only end very unpleasantly, and we have at least an obligation to protest.

There is the resurgent antisemitism that plagues our brethren virtually throughout the world -- in some places it is worse than others.

There are the perennial problems such as the test of poverty and the test of wealth -- one or the other affects just about every Jew today.

There are of course the political and diplomatic problems of the State of Israel, as well as its military and economic problems, which are of interest and concern to all of us.

This is only a superficial and not an exhaustive list, but it shows that we have plenty to worry about all year long.

However in this period, we forget about all our other burdens to focus on our central loss: the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh.

Just as when one suffers, Rachmono litzlan, a deep and sharp personal loss of a loved one, the mitzvah and the inclination is to forget about everything else in the world and to focus exclusively on the loss for an initial period during the day of death, burial and the subsequent shiva, so during the Three Weeks and especially on Tisha B'Av we focus on the Churban of the Beis Hamikdosh.

The whole period is pervaded by our loss. During the first nine days of Av we do not eat meat nor drink wine to recall and feel the loss of the avodoh in the Beis Hamikdosh of which meat and wine was an integral part. On Tisha B'Av itself, all the special laws and customs of the day are designed to force us to focus on our mourning without distraction.

As with mourning a person, our sense of loss is focused on the nonmaterial aspects that were lost to us. If it is a person, we miss his or her spirit and soul which was housed in a body but was so much more. Our grief does not lead us to exhume the body, nor should our sorrow over the loss of the Beis Hamikdosh lead us to pray on the Har Habayis (where we risk an issur koreis).

Rather we must ache at the loss of the direct connection with Heavenly realms that we had through the Beis Hamikdosh. It was the center of our lives and its presence made all the difference in the world. And our ache at our spiritual loss should spur us to seek spiritual ends.

Our obligation at this time is to strengthen ourselves in Torah and yir'oh, to perfect our own middos and to perform ma'asim tovim.

There is no single "hot button" that we can push to restore things. We must work on improvement in all areas, as prescribed by the Torah.

If we do our work properly, we will find that by ignoring all our other problems and concentrating on what Chazal tell us to concentrate on during this period, we will actually make more progress on solving them than if we had worried about them.

We end our reading of Eichoh: Hashiveinu Hashem eilecho venoshuvoh, chadeish yomeinu kekedem. We wish to renew the spiritual glory of yesteryear, and the problems of the world will take care of themselves.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.