Tisha B’Av has passed once again and the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed once again this year. As the Yerushalmi says, if the Beis Hamikdash is not rebuilt in a particular generation, it is considered to have been destroyed in it.
So, the galus endures and we continue to yearn for our redemption. Evidently, we were not zoche to celebrate Tisha B’Av as a holiday just yet. Undoubtedly, this is due to our sins, which we have yet to rectify.
There was an emphasis this year put on the concept of nosei b’ohel – feeling others’ pain. There is one application of this midda that I think could use a bit of chizuk.
Every day, there are Jews who risk their lives to ensure the security of the Jews in Eretz Yisrael against the constant threat from countless barbarian terrorist externally and from within the country. These brothers and sisters of ours do the necessary hishtadlus in order for Hashem to award us His protection.
We are not on the level to sit back and have Hashem fight our battles for us; rather, we need a human army to go out and fight physical wars so that Hashem can make us victorious. (Not that Hashem couldn’t do it without a human army; it is just that we are not on a level to deserve such an open miracle, coupled with the fact that, in galus, Hashem has chosen to operate via hester panim – in a hidden manner.)
Shouldn’t the fact that there are Yidden who perform necessary service for us warrant some feeling of hakaras hatov towards them? Shouldn’t the fact they have to put their lives at risk performing a service for us make that argument even stronger? This should be much more compelling than saying hello and thank you to the people who serve you coffee in the morning.
Due to the dangerous circumstances, many of these brothers and sisters in fact have fallen over the years. The Israeli government has implemented a day of remembrance and a moment of silence to commemorate the fallen soldiers. How could it be that there are people who don’t respect that day and that moment?
What if they are standing next to a mother who lost her son fighting to protect this arrogant fool who goes about his day during the siren? What if a brother or any family member of a fallen soldier is watching as some people disregard the siren? How insensitive does one have to be to ignore such a siren? How callous and thoughtless does one have to be not to listen and answer amen to a mishebeirach recited at the Torah praying for Divine protection for our soldiers?
The late Satmar Rebbe was the staunch leader opposed to the State of Israel and its government at its founding. (The government today is not what it was back then and has come a long way.) Be that as it may, whenever a political official would visit him and tell him of his support for Israel or something that he had done for Israel, the Satmar Rebbe would thank him profusely!
Afterward his chasidim asked him about this peculiar response; they were expecting the Rebbe to inform the politician that he would prefer Israel not receive any aid. The Rebbe explained that while we have an internal conflict against the State of Israel, there is no reason to broadcast that to non-Jews who would not understand. When a politician helps Israel, they think they are helping Jews. Our internal conflicts are to remain internal.
In fact, in the Sinai War In 1956, the Satmar community raised a large sum of money to fund the hospitals set up to help the wounded in the war.
Painfully, many of the followers and chassidim of that Rebbe have not remembered that important lesson and astoundingly stand like self-haters protesting the State of Israel to the public in places like Manhattan.
Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro zt”l was once speaking at a fundraiser for his own yeshiva and broke down crying and said it was very difficult to speak and continued crying. He explained that earlier that day two army helicopters collided and 77 (non-religious) soldiers died. Rav Moshe Shmuel was a big and honest kana’i and due to his beliefs resigned from the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah. Yet, this news broke his heart.
Rav Lau once related the following story: A bachur learning in Yeshivas Kol Torah in Yerushalayim under Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach, zt”l, once came to the rosh yeshiva with the following question: “Rebbe” he asked, “can I take off from yeshivah to travel to the north to daven at the kevarim of tzadikim?”
Rav Shlomo Zalman answered him that it is better to stay in Yeshiva and learn. The talmid asked: “Is there no benefit to to davening by kivrei tzadikim? Does the Rebbe not ever go to daven at the kevarim of tzadikim?”
Rav Shlomo Zalman answered him, “In order to daven by the kevarim of tzadikim, one does not have to travel to the north. When I feel the need to daven by the kevarim of tzadikim I go to Har Hertzl, to the graves of the fallen soldiers who died al kidush Hashem.” (This story is also printed in a Sefer Oro Shel Olam page 380.)
In my humble opinion, there is much room for improvement in this area, and by working to rectify this defect, we will advance the bringing of Mashiach speedily in our days. Amen.