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“Rabbi Yochanan said that day [when the children of Israel wept in the desert] was the eve of Tisha B’Av. The Holy One said, ‘You have wept for no reason. I will fix on this day weeping throughout the generations.’ ” – Maseches Ta’anis 29a
This is how Tisha B’Av became the Day of Tragedy.
“You have wept for no reason.”
Is it possible that, because of “weeping for no reason,” two Temples were destroyed, thousands of years of exile were decreed, centuries of crusades, pogroms, inquisitions, Chmielnicki, Stalin, Hitler, Arafat, bin Laden, Ahmadinejad? Mayhem, persecution, torture, murder?
We are about to begin the Three Weeks. Let’s try to understand what happened.
Listen to the report of the meraglim, the spies: “We cannot ascend to that people for it is too strong for us…. The Land through which we have passed, to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants. All the people that we saw in it were huge. There we saw the Nephilim, the sons of the giant…we were like grasshoppers in our eyes, and so we were in their eyes” (Bamidbar 13:31).
How did the meraglim know what they looked like in the eyes of the giants? The answer is clear: They were looking at the world from the giants’ perspective. This is what happens when you fear someone.
From this we can comprehend the imperative “I have set Hashem in front of me always” (Tehillim 16:8). If Hashem is not “in front of” us, something else is going to be there. And when you compare Hashem with “something else,” you are comparing Life with death.
It all started, of course, in Gan Eden. Eve began to look at things from the snake’s point of view. It all seemed so reasonable. Isn’t it good to be open-minded? Actually, it’s very dangerous. As Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis is fond of saying, “Some people are so open-minded, their brains fall out.”
We have free will, but we have to understand the consequences. We are given the choice between life and death. The Torah says, “choose life” (Devarim 30:19). It is fatal to look at life without looking from Hashem’s perspective. As soon as Eve’s mind was open just a crack, the possibility of seeing things from a godless perspective became real. Suddenly, that crack widened to the size of an elephant, then Mount Everest, and then it became a huge Black Hole that swallowed both Adam and Eve, swept them out of their secure and perfect home and catapulted them into the tumultuous, tortured world we have inherited.
* * * * *
The spies were great men – “every one a leader”(Bamidbar 13:2).
“Meraglim” may be rooted in the Hebrew word “regel,” those who went on “foot” into the Holy Land, but it’s interesting that in English we see a hint of the word “mirage.” Perhaps it’s just coincidence, but we know there are no accidents. We can learn from this that if we follow a mirage, we are headed for terrible trouble.
How could the meraglim have believed they looked like grasshoppers? We say every morning, “My God, the soul You placed within me is pure. You created it. You fashioned it. You breathed it into me. You safeguard it within me….”
Are we created in the image of God or are we grasshoppers?
I am writing these words from the holy city of Yerushalayim. You know how it is here – there are thousands of cats. When some underfed kitten presses against your leg and makes that plaintive “meow,” you want to reach into your pocket and find something to feed it. You get an urge to talk to them, to say, “I’m so sorry, I have no food on me right now. If I had some, I would be so happy to give it to you.” And you really start thinking they understand you.
About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, "2020 Vision" (Feldheim), is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French and Russian with a Georgian edition in preparation. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul" (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, Georgian edition in preparation) and "Worldstorm." Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at email@example.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com. Roy and his wife speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.
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The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.
The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.
The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.
In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities
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But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.
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We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .
Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.
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At the end of the harvest, winter begins. The earth becomes cold and hard, nights are long, and the sun seems far away in the southern sky. The sap ceases to flow in the trees. But in this season of temporary “death” Hashem sends down harbingers of coming life in the form of tal u’matar livrachah – dew and rain for a blessing – upon the earth.
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They were lining up for gas masks in Israel.
Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.
At the mikveh they were discussing Egypt.
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What is the relationship between Pesach and Shavuos?
Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, relates in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe a striking metaphor:
“In those days, when King Achashveirosh sat on his royal throne which was in Shushan the capital, in the third year of his reign, he made a feast for all his officials and servants, the army of Persia and Medea; the nobles and officials of the provinces being present, when he displayed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his splendorous majesty for many days, a hundred and eighty days.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/grasshoppers-or-servants-of-hashem/2011/07/13/
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