From the fifteenth of Av it is appropriate to wish each other a
good new year. May Hashem bless you with a good and sweet New
Year, good health, wealth, joy personal fulfillment and may we
all spend the New Year in Israel with the coming of Moshiach!
Shalom and Bracha!
Friday, August third, is Tu B’av, the fifteenth day of the
Hebrew month of Av. The Mishnah in Ta’anit states “There were no
Holidays for the Jewish people as great as the fifteenth of Av
and Yom Kippur.” On the fifteenth of Av, the maidens of Israel
would go out into the fields and dance and the men would seek
their brides. All of the girls would wear borrowed white
clothing in order not to embarrass the poor who lacked beautiful
clothing of their own.
Ari Hakadosh (A very renowned Kabbalist) explained that the
reason for the greatness of Tu B’av is that it falls on the
fifteenth of the Hebrew month. The Hebrew calendar is a lunar
calendar, and the fifteenth of the month is the night of the
full moon. The moon represents the Jewish people, and the rise
of the moon represents the rise of the Jewish people.
explanation warrants further explanation; every month has a full
moon! Pesach and Sukkot also fall on the fifteenth of the Hebrew
month when there is a full moon. However, this full moon
represents the strength of the Jewish people to arise and
overpower the destruction that occurred on the ninth of Av, and
as such represents the power to overcome all negativity.
healing of the tragedies of the ninth of Av is also alluded to
in the Talmud’s explanations of the Holiday. The first reason
given for the Holiday is that the Jew stopped dying in the
desert. It was decreed on the ninth of Av that the Jewish people
should wander in the desert for forty years and that that
generation should die in the desert.
ceased to die on the fifteenth of Av. The city of Betar was
destroyed on the ninth of Av. The Romans refused to allow the
dead to be buried. Hashem made a miracle and the bodies didn’t
decompose. Years later, they were allowed to be buried on the
fifteenth of Av. The second Temple was destroyed on the ninth of
Av because of divisiveness. Through deep Torah insight, two
divisive rulings were annulled on the fifteenth of Av.
is also why the celebration of the Holiday was through betrothal
and sensitivity. The union of a man and his wife parallels the
bond between G-d and the Jewish people.
exile is a form of separation and the redemption is a reuniting.
Therefore, on the fifteenth of Av, we celebrate with
preparations for new betrothals. Since the coming of Moshiach is
dependent upon fixing the sin of divisiveness, we celebrate
through extra consideration. The Talmud explains that even the
King’s daughter would wear borrowed clothing. Imagine for a
moment how uncomfortable it would be for a princess to seek her
prince in borrowed clothing! Nevertheless she did so, in order
to spare a poor maiden shame.
teaches us the measure of sensitivity we must have for others.
The Talmud continues that from the fifteenth of
Av the nights get longer and it is imperative to increase in
Torah study. The Talmud continues that this brings longer life.
we merit that this fifteenth of Av will fully transform all of
the tragedies of the ninth of Av and we will see the rebuilding
of the Temple and hear the new depths in Torah that Moshiach
connection with the fifteenth of Av I will be visiting the
Rebbe’s resting place and praying for people who need to find
spouses (and other blessings). If you would like a prayer said
for anyone, contact me at RabbiBiggs@gmail.com Please
include their Hebrew name and their mother’s Hebrew name
Nachamu-Doubling the Bond
City Candle lighting 7:51
Shabbat ends 8:53
Shalom and Bracha!
Shabbat is the first Shabbat after Tisha B’av, when we
commemorated the destruction of the first and second Temples. It
is known as Shabbat Nachamu, because the Haftara begins “Nachamu
Nachamu Ami” (Doubly comfort my people) and continues with the
promise of the redemption through Moshiach. The double measure
of comfort is because the Jewish people have been “doubly
punished for all of their sins” (as the Haftara continues later)
with the destruction of the first and second Temples. This
Shabbat we read the portion of Vaetchanan, which also alludes to
a double measure of comfort and to Moshiach, as will shortly be
comforting after the destruction is connected to Teshuvah,
returning to Hashem and mending our ways. In Tanya, there is a
beautiful explanation of the bond that we attain through
Teshuvah. This explanation gives a deeper insight into the
meaning of double comforting. When a cord is broken, and
thereafter tied back together, the place of the repair is much
thicker than the original cord. Similarly, when we return to
Hashem after doing wrong, our bond is doubly strong.
(Furthermore, by tying a new knot, the distance between the two
ends of the cord is shortened. When we return to Hashem, we
become closer than before.) The double comforting represents a
deeper bond than before.
Although most of the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) repeats
previous concepts and narratives, the Mezuzah is first mentioned
in this portion. The Talmud relates that Onkelus was a convert
who was the nephew of the Emperor. Infuriated at his becoming a
Jew, the Emperor sent soldiers to arrest him. Onkelus explained
to the soldiers why he believed in only one G-d and rejected
paganism. Enraged, the Emperor sent more officers, forbidding
them to engage in conversation with Onkelus. When they removed
him from the house, he kissed the Mezuzah. When they asked him
why, he responded “Your king dwells in his palace and his
servants protect him from outside. The King of Kings is present
at his servants doors, protecting and blessing His servants.
When he continued to explain, they too converted and the Emperor
gave up. As Hashem comforts us for the destruction of the
Temples, His palace, he gives us the Mitzvah of Mezuzah, His
presence in our homes.
this week’s portion, we read the Shma Yisrael, the affirmation
of Hashem’s unity and the primary prayer of Judaism. We also
read the giving of the Ten Commandments, the cornerstone of
Hashem’s revelation. Why do we read these pillars of faith at
this time? When we do wrong, and are punished, we question if we
can reestablish our relationship. By including these pillars of
faith in the portion we read immediately after Tisha B’av,
Hashem assures us that our bond is strong and that it is in our
hands to reaffirm our connection.
Shma teaches a further lesson. In order to rebuild our bond, our
emotions must breed action. We accept Hashem as our King, not
only in our hearts but by reading the Shma at night and upon
rising. We bring Hashem into our hearts and minds, and we affirm
our love through putting on Tefillin each day. We seek Hashem to
be a part of our home and business, and we affix a Mezuzah on
each door. We seek that Hashem watch over and guide our
children, and we give our children a full Torah education. We
not only seek the bond, we build it.
of these pillars have a special connection to Moshiach, and thus
to the comforting for the destruction and the hope for the
redemption. The first of the Ten Commandment is “I am Hashem
your G-d who took you out of Egypt.” The Semak, a famous
Halachic authority, explains that the words “Who took you out of
Egypt” include not only the belief in Hashem but that He will
redeem us from every exile. Rashi explains that the words “Hear
Oh Israel, Hashem is our G-d Hashem is one” mean
that Hashem, who‘s unity is now recognized only by the Jewish
people, and therefor is called “our G-d”, is destined to be
known as the One G-d by the entire world when Moshiach comes.
Haftara continues that we mustn’t fear to announce the imminence
of Moshiach’s coming. “Climb a high mountain, tiding bearer of
Jerusalem and call in a mighty voice.” May we celebrate
Moshiach’s arrival this Shabbat!
Dedicated to Sarah Bat Rachel for a full and speedy recovery
Project of Chabad of Great Neck
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