Friday, August 12, 2016

Tisha B'Av 5776 and Shabbos Chazon

Tisha B'Av 5776 and Shabbos Chazon:
Let us begin to discuss some about Shabbos Chazon, and Tisha B’Av:  Shabbos Chazon is the name which we call the Shabbos right before Tisha B’Av.  The Seforim HaKedoshim tell us that Shabbos Chazon is the most exalted Shabbos in the entire year (maybe except for Yom Kippur, but...).  Why?  Because, they tell us, when the weekdays are on a lower level than usual, the Shabbos is on a higher level than usual!  And, in this time, when the weekdays are extremely sad, the Shabbos is extremely exalted (even more so than usual)![1]  So we need to try to not let this go to waste.  Every single Shabbos has, imbued within it, special Kedusha, and this Shabbos has maybe even more than usual! 

So, anyway, right after Shabbos, will be Tisha B’Av (actually, Shabbos is the Ninth of Av, but, except for Yom Kippur, you are not allowed to fast on a Shabbos really, so it is pushed off until the next day).  Tisha B’Av is a very sad day; as we know, both Batei HaMikdash were destroyed on that day.  So now, we are not able to even offer the special offerings to Hashem!  And we cannot perform the special services that He wanted us to!  When we had the Beis HaMikdash, we could perform the service of Hashem to the ultimate level!  But, even though Hashem gave us this special House, we sinned and sinned, and He had to have it destroyed, and send us into Galus. 

He was kind enough to grant us another chance, and we got a second Beis HaMikdash!  But, we sinned again!  And He had to make this one, too, get destroyed.  The Gemara (Yoma 9b) tells us that the first Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of the sins of:  Avodah zarah; shefichus damim (i.e. murder), and arayoss.  And we are also told that the second Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam (between Jews).  So one of our goals in this time should be to rectify these things.  Surely we do not do the first three things (Chas V’Shalom!); however, maybe we are mean to fellow Jews.  And maybe we don’t like some of them, or treat some badly.  We must try to rectify these sins by doing the very opposite!  We should treat Jews very well, and we should love every Jew (like the command to love your fellow as yourself).  Then we can, B’Ezras Hashem rectify those sins!  So now let us move on to another topic of Tisha B’Av:

As we know, every single person has a precious Neshama inside of them; as the Tanya (and others) brings down, it is a “piece”, so to speak, of Hashem.  And it is so holy!  Our Soul is actually almost like our own, personal Beis HaMikdash; inside of us!  We are supposed to guard it from the invading forces; the Yetzer hara, who wants to destroy our Soul.  And this is something to concentrate on always; though The Three Weeks remind us of this message.  We must always try to stop these invading forces, and keep our ‘Beis HaMikdash’ standing!  The real Beis HaMikdash may not be around, but we all sort of have one inside of us; and it is up to us to stop the invading forces from destroying it. 

As we know, Hashem does not need to eat; however, when we offered Him offerings, it was called ‘the food of Hashem’.  So, though He does not need food, it was still called that.  I would like to propose a kavanah that would be good to have while we are fasting on Tisha B’Av:  As we know, it is because of our sins that the Batei HaMikdash are not here anymore.  And so, this is why we are not able to offer things to Hashem anymore.  Ah, since offerings are called ‘the food of Hashem’ (ki’vi’yachol), then we can understand the kavanah I am talking about:  Since we caused the fact that we cannot offer up ‘the food of Hashem’ anymore, how can we possibly even look at food!  How can we think of eating?  (Again, in no way should anyone think that Hashem eats.  However, the offerings were still called ‘the food of Hashem’.  And I am trying to derive a lesson from the term used). 

Another thing:  We must mourn over the fact that the Batei HaMikdash are destroyed, and we cannot perform the service of Hashem to the ultimate, such as offering things to Him, but we must always try to serve Him to the best that we all can.  And you would be surprised how high a level that really is!  On Tisha B’Av, we must also mourn over our sins, because it was because of them that we are in Exile.  Now, I have been asked before, when I said this; ‘why should we mourn over our sins, when it wasn’t our personal sins that caused the Churban?!’  But the answer I gave, and am giving, is that we too, have our own package of sins.  And, the Sages (Yalkut Shimoni - Tehillim 137, 886; Yerushalmi Yoma 1:1 - 5a) have said that a generation that does not bring Mashiach is considered as if they had caused its destruction.  So, the fact that we have not yet returned to Hashem and brought the Mashiach is every person’s fault!  We know that we all have our packages of sins, and it is up to us to repent for them, and return to Hashem wholeheartedly.  Every single moment in our lives, we have another opportunity to serve Hashem.  And let us all return (now!) to Hashem, and serve Him in truth. 

These are a lot of thoughts that should pass through our minds on the Nine Days and Tisha B’Av.  And if we do what we are supposed to, repent to Hashem, and actually serve Him in truth, then we will be fulfilling our purposes in life. 

And, may Hashem make this the last sad Tisha B’Av, and the last one in Galus.  As our Sages teach, Mashiach will be (maybe he already was!) born on Tisha B’Av.  May Hashem bring Mashiach very, very speedily, making this the last Shabbos in Galus, and may He rebuild the Third, and final, indestructible Beis HaMikdash very, very soon, Amein vi’Amein, so may it be His Will! 
Refoel Berel
(P.S. For a great, free e-book on the Three Weeks, search for the book ‘Exile’, by HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l). 
[1]©.  'Parshas Devarim - Shabbos Chazon - A Thousand Times More'. 

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