Tisha B’Av and our future
I cannot determine if it is old age or the penetrating introspection that comes in the “nine days” that direct me to think “out of the box”, but here I am pondering several issues.
1- In the 30 days between the 9th of Av and the 8th of Elul in the year 70 C.E. (3830 years after Adam and Chava) there was hand to hand fighting between the emaciated Jewish fighters and the powerful Romans. It took the Romans 30 days to advance 100-150 meters from the Temple Mount to the upper city, which illustrates the ferocity and determination of the Jewish defenders against the overwhelming Roman forces.
I can picture in my mind’s eye the slaughter of the Jewish civilian population; the stench of death from every corner and uncontrollable cruelty of the descendants of Aisav.
Not a stone upon a stone remained intact. The remaining live Jews were shackled and sent to the slave markets of the Middle East and Europe. Among them were my (and your) grandparents, looking back at what had been the beautiful Yerushalayim, now under pools of blood. Savta says to Saba, “it’s all gone. Our sins have brought this about. All hope is gone!” And Saba replied, “We have before us a long period of suffering in exile; hundreds or even thousands of years of wandering across the planet. But one day our descendants will return and rebuild what we have lost”.
And today I call out to them, “Saba and Savta it’s me – Nachman, son of Yechezkel Sharaga HaKohen and Sarah Chana, daughter of the illustrious Gaon Harav Baruch Shalom Trainin. I’m your grandson, and my wife Feiga and children have returned after 2000 years of keeping the faith. I am a conscious kohen like you. I don tefillin every day like you and learn the oral Torah that you knew by heart, but which was written down centuries later. The last Roman walked the planet about 1800 years ago. There is no Roman to rejoice in their cruelty; they are a relic, while we and our family live again to walk the streets that you walked, and we breathe the holy air of Yerushalayim as you did. Our generation is restoring the beauty and sanctity that your generation lost. Yes, Saba and Savta – it is happening, and your descendants are a part of the dream come true”.
HaShem through His prophets promised and is now fulfilling His holy words that the Jewish nation will return.
2- Initially it appears as though this world is a disaster. A logical, compassionate person who reads a chapter or two of world history could be forgiven for raising the question, that when the Creator brought forth chimpanzees, why did He not stop there. Why take the extra step on the Darwinian ladder?
For even the Torah says in Bereishiet (8,21):
….. כי יֵצֶר לֵב הָאָדָם רַע מִנְּעֻרָיו
The desires of man are innately evil.
So, why did HaShem make Man, when in the 20th century alone it is estimated that about 170,000,000 persons were systematically and cruelly killed by the actions of governments?
It took time; but I finally caught on. Humanity is indeed evil (except for some shining stars who probably had Jewish blood), but it has produced many cultures and civilizations which are the perfect background on which Am Yisrael are commanded to fulfill HaShem’s mitzvot.
To keep the Torah in a world filled entirely with the yetzer tov (instinct of good) is no challenge, but to do so when the world is a very narrow bridge and with one false step you can find yourself on a slippery slope to oblivion is another matter. To keep the Torah in Gan Eden was not a challenge, so Adam and Chava were sent away. To keep the Torah among evil doers is a kiddush HaShem, when the good and the holy triumph over evil.
The classic paradox of what happens when an “irresistible force meets an immovable object” becomes real in Jewish history. When the never-ending irresistible force of Judenhass (anti-Semitism) meets the immovable emunah (belief and trust) of the Jewish nation in HaShem, the result is a buildup of emotional and religious friction that explodes with expulsions, pogroms and peaks with extermination camps.
But dear Saba and Savta, the Jewish nation is now beyond that bitter history with the miraculous establishment of the Jewish Medina. HaShem has changed the gears of history and we have turned the corner, from victim to master, of our holy fate.
Today, if one stretches a little to see a bit beyond the horizon, he will see the third Bet Hamikdash and all Am Yisrael filling every corner of Eretz Yisrael as described by the prophet Yechezkel.
3- What is happening now in the Medina between those who want a Jewish Medina and those who want a Medina of Jews, is a result of natural law that states: Every material object or secular concept or value becomes, at some point, obsolete and is discarded.
The “mob” that we see running wild today has no concept of “kedusha”. They are culturally closer to western non-values than to the nation they were born into. About 15 years ago, there was a religious Aluf (general in tzahal) who was scheduled to be appointed head of military intelligence. He said in a TV interview that the secular here are “like goyim who speak Ivrit”; He immediately lost his appointment for telling the truth.
Secular Zionism has a major share in establishing the Medina at a time when the religious and rabbinic world did not, could not, and even opposed political Zionism and the creation of a secular Jewish state. But secular Zionism has run its course, as in the words of a former secular minister of education, “we attempted to create a society of apikorsim (learned atheists) but succeeded in producing a generation of ignoramuses”. The screamers in the streets are varied but are united on one point. They truly fear pending religious legislation in the Knesset. They are aware that the numbers have changed in the Medina and there is no way that they can return to governmental power.
Medinat Yisrael will soon be an official Torah religious state.
Those who will push forward on the right side of history will endure, but those who seek to derail the train of history will be rejected, just as tiny bits of diamond dust fall away at the hands of the expert cutter.
For those who shout “democracy” will not be part of our team in the marathon towards the pinnacle of history which is waiting for the Jewish nation to arrive.
Conclusion: After rereading what I wrote, it’s clear to me that these are not the thoughts of old age. Neither are they the emotions of a mourner for Zion; but rather those of a Jew tied to history and who hears the words of the prophet Zecharia (8,18-19):
וַיְהִי דְּבַר ה’ צְבָאוֹת אֵלַי לֵאמֹר:
כֹּה אָמַר ה’ צְבָאוֹת צוֹם הָרְבִיעִי וְצוֹם הַחֲמִישִׁי וְצוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וְצוֹם הָעֲשִׂירִי יִהְיֶה לְבֵית יְהוּדָה לְשָׂשׂוֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָה וּלְמֹעֲדִים טוֹבִים וְהָאֱמֶת וְהַשָּׁלוֹם אֱהָבוּ: פ
18 The word of Hashem came to me.
19 This is what Hashem declared: The fasts of the fourth (month) and fifth (month of Av) and seventh (month) and the tenth (month), will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah, where truth and peace shall be loved (by man).
A meaningful fast to all. May we merit to celebrate all the dates of mourning as holidays as the prophet has stated.
Copyright © 5783/2023 Nachman Kahana