|Zeev Hatorah-Devarim-Tisha b’Av-Open For Business|
|Written by Rabbi Shmuel Brazil|
This week I heard a story of a young Rosh Yeshiva who began his new career with 15 advanced and seasoned bachurim. Over the next three years the numbers dwindled until there remained only three. He was faced with a dilemma if he should open for the new zman or close the yeshiva entirely and call it a failure. With such a major decision at hand he decided to ask the opinion of a senior Rosh Yeshiva. It so happened to be that the Rosh Yeshiva to whom he addressed his question to had a very sharp wit and he responded with the following, “ I don’t even hear the sheialah at all. Your are already closed”!
Obviously, this young Rosh Yeshivah was in denial to think that he was actually still open for business. Yet his particular dilemma is one that everybody is plagued with many times during a lifetime. When we are overcome with despair that comes about due to our failures in our accepted roles or falling short of our goals, we begin to second doubt ourselves and start entertaining thoughts of locking the door and then throwing away the key. When one’s self esteem drops one has the tendency to short change his true character and abilities, to cheapen his sincerity of effort, and to handicap a personal development that he was destined and capable of attaining. I am not advocating being in denial and oblivious to the facts but rather the necessity of making a painstaking true analysis and assessment of one’s strengths and weaknesses prior to committing a self-character assassination.
In the beginning of Devarim Moshe Rebbeinu admonishes Yisrael for their shortcomings. Rashi comments that this chastisement did not take the form of frankness and openness but rather was executed with clothed and hinting fashion in order to save the honor and grace of Yisrael. Rav Shimshon Pincus writes that the passuk in Zefanya 2,3 says אשר משפטו פעלו which Chazal explain to mean that even where there is judgment and punishment one must still recall the righteousness of that person . Failure, even of a jumbo irrevocable nature, does not automatically press the convenient delete button that wipes out all the past good deeds that were accomplished by the same individual.
Not only is passed deeds not erased but also the same act for which a person is being punished for must also be looked upon in a favorable light. For instance, the sin of the Eigel is hinted by Moshe Rabbeinu in the words די זהב an overabundance of the gold. Surely there is no denial that Am Yisrael worshipped avodah zarah and they must be punished for their transgression. However, their grand failure does not mean that their business with Hashem has now been totally shut down. For upon closer analysis it could be said that if Hashem would not have inundated with this overabundance of wealth they would not have fallen prey to idolatry in the first place. Another incident of transgression was Baarava (Arvos Moav) which hints to the worshipping of the idol Baal Peor. This idolatry as well was hinted in order to be seen in a more favorable light when realizing that it was the daughters of Moav who through rewards of sensuousness seduced them to worship their deities. By seeking to find the core goodness even within the bad action itself, can redeem a person from self character assassination and feelings of worthlessness and I’m done, and restore him to self-worth and purpose.
This could be the meaning of Chazal that all the transgressions were hinted to and not openly revealed in order to preserve the kovid of Yisrael. For if these avairos were simply stated that would have then leff open a window of possibility to think that business is completely over and if you were to think otherwise then you are in denial. However by merely hinting to these avairos and thereby lessening the degree of their involved accountability, Moshe was revealing in these uprisings the hidden essential goodness of Klal Yisrael thereby restoring their kovod to its former glory.
This teaches us a great lesson on the way one must view a Yid’s spiritual failures. Instead of posting on him a CLOSED FOR GOOD sign, Klal Yisrael’ signs read – BUSINESS IS STILL OPEN WE ARE JUST TEMPORARILY CLOSED IN PREPARATION FOR A GIGANTIC INVENTORY CLEARANCE. As the tzadikkim say in reference to Jewish sins that Chazal attest to the fact that from every aveirah a malach is created to testify against him in the final day of reckoning. Yet you will never find a complete wholesome malach who is created from the aveirah with all his limbs intact. The reason is because there always remains some part of the Yid that does not sincerely want to do the aveirah!
When the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed over two thousand years ago there were many who thought that’s it, business is closed. Even the minority who fervently disagreed nevertheless changed their minds after thousand years have passed by and the Mikdash has not yet been rebuilt. Even the minority of the minority who still held on tightly to their faith and did not throw in the towel, they too surrendered after two thousand years have passed and no change for the better has taken place. However, this hashkafa is totally wrong from beginning to start as we will now explain:
Chazal say (Berachos 4) that from the time of the Temple’s destruction Hashem has only the four cubits of Torah. This statement is normally interpreted to mean that after the destruction of the Mikdash, bedieved, Hashem’s “second place” winner is Torah. However, this statement is interpreted in the deeper sefarim to mean that in the four cubits of Torah the Beis Hamikdash was not destroyed. What ever kedusha and revelation of Hashem that was present in the Beis Hamikdash can also be found in the Torah if learned in a state of purity and with all the conditions that are required. In other words , there was no churban of the Beis Hamikdash in Torah learning. This is the reason why many big Jews seek to make a siyum during the nine days. No, not as we would think because they run a camp, restaurant, or the menu has run dry. The reason is because they want to demonstrate that through learning Torah the Beis Hamikdash is alive and well. It is through the toil over Torah that one can contact Hashem just as he did in the times of the Beis Hamikdash. As long as Yidden hold on tenaciously to Torah learning they are connected to the same inner light of the Beis Hamikdash even to this very day.
The Medrash at the beginning of Aichah compares the sending of Adam Harishon from Gan Eden to the sending of Am Yisrael into galus after the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash.
איכה ישבה בדד כל מה שאירע לאדם הראשון כך אירע לישראל אדם הראשון הקב"ה הכניסו לגן עדן וצוהו ועבר ודנו בשלוחין וגירושין וקונן עליו איכה ויאמר לו איכה (בראשית ב' כ') איכה דן אותו בגירושין מנין דכתיב ויגרש את האדם (שם שם כ"ד) דן אותו בשלוחין מנין דכתיב וישלחהו ה' אלהים (שם שם כ"ג) וכן עשה לישראל הכניסם לארץ ישראל שנאמר ואביא אתכם אל ארץ הכרמל וגו' (ירמיה ב' ז') וציוה אותם ואמר להם זאת עשו וחיו וזאת לא תעשו ועברו על צוויו ודנם בגירושין ובשלוחין שנאמר מביתי אגרשם (הושע ט' ט"ו) ודן אותם בשלוחין שנאמר שלח מעל פני ויצאו (ירמיה ט"ו א') ויקונן בעצמו עליהם איכה איכה ישבה בדד:
The Medrash mentions two aspects of both exoduses in two distinct terms of גירושין ושילוחין What exactly is the difference between these two similar actions? The Satmar Rav Rav Yoel ztl explains that gerushin is the physical exodus from Gan Eden and from Eertz Yisael. Shiluchim refers to the mission that has not changed even after the geirushin. Both Adam and Yisrael should not think for a moment that since they were expelled from the presence of Hashem business is now closed. Just to the contrary Business is as usual but it has become a much more challenging than before. The reason why the shelichus is still “on” is because in Torah there never was a churban of the Beis Hamikdash. It has never been compromised. It is just harder to contact the inner light that was so readably accessible in the Beis Hamikdash.
This is perhaps how we can understand the gemarah (Yuma 54b) that says that when our conquering enemies entered the Holy of Holies they saw that the cheruvim on top of the aron were in an embrace. This seems to contradict the Chazal that say that the positions of the cheruvim were an indicator to the level of love between Hashem and Yisrael? It could very well be that Hashem was revealing to Yisrael at the height of the churban that in Torah learning which is symbolized by the cheruvin on the aron, there was never any churban or distancing in the relationship of Hashem and Yisrael.
Next week hundreds of thousands of Yidden will be finishing together shas. There is no greater testimony to ourselves and to the world that G-d,s business is still open and flourishing and that Klal Yisrael is His greatest customer. This comes on the heels of a Tisha B’av where all of Yisrael mourn and cry for the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. The fact that we can cry over something that was destroyed two thousand years ago even if we were not even there, shows clearly that our business is still open. As we say in Aicha (1,1) היתה כאלמנה that the city of Yerushalayim is like a widow but not an actual widow (Rashi). That crying of Tisha Be’av is fueled by the Torah we learn with toil in where the inner light of the Beis Hamikdash still shines making us yearn to see that same light evident to the entire world in the days of Moshiach’s coming.
Many people have probably never noticed that the niggun used in the nusach of Yom Tov mussaf of the words בני ביתך כבתחילה is the same niggun used for the last kinnah recited on Tisha B’av Eli Ziyon. This is testimony that our hope in towards the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash hashelishi stems from the fact that we can still mourn and cry over the second’s destruction.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
May we be zoche to the banyan beis hamikdash bekarov mamesh