Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • D'varim
קטגוריה משנית
  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Shabbat Chazon
To dedicate this lesson
In 1967, Israeli paratroopers captured the Old City & made their way to the Western Wall. Many of the religious soldiers were overcome with emotion & leaned against the Wall, praying & crying. Far back from the Kotel stood a non-religious soldier; he, too, was crying. His friends asked him, "Why are you crying? What does this Wall mean to you?!" The soldier responded, "I am crying because I don't know why I should be crying."

Many years, on Tisha B’Av pasts, it has become in vogue to question the appropriateness of such a somber day. Why do we need it? After all, Jerusalem is no longer in ruins; it has been re-populated and transformed into a world-class, spectacular city, one of the most vibrant & visited capitals on the planet. Why cry over it now?

Indeed, there have been numerous suggestions to adjust, or even eliminate, the Nachem prayer which we recite on Mincha of Tisha B’Av (one of only 4 blessings said each year by every Jew throughout the world). That prayer, which depicts Yerushalayim as a "desolate, deserted, degraded" place, one filled "with death & destruction" has rankled the sensibilities of many modern Israelis, who walk the streets of a starkly different Jerusalem. They wonder why we cannot "upgrade" Nachem into a far more upbeat, optimistic version reflecting the current reality.

Well, sadly, the events of the past several weeks – not coincidentally, coming precisely during the 3 Weeks - have sent us a stark reminder that the tragic tone of Nachem is far from misplaced; it reflects an appraisal of Jerusalem that is far from ideal, one that is still, sadly, filled with moments of sadness, struggle & sacrifice.

Anyone with any semblance of savvy knows that the ongoing turmoil in Yerushalayim is not about cameras, or metal detectors, or security. It is about sovereignty, about control, about who actually rules the Holy City – Am Yisrael, or the Muslim world. And, I am sorry to say, we are far from having won this all-important battle.

And so, we have more than just cause this 9 Av to sit mournfully in low places & bemoan our fate. Yes, we must thank G-d for all He has miraculously given us, for the glorious State of Israel that is truly the flowering of our Redemption, greater than any Israel of the past. But the project is far from complete: We pray for the fulfillment of "Chazon Yeshayahu," Isaiah’s grand, future vision, when "V’Yashiva Yadi Alayich," G-d will return His protective hand upon us, give us the upper hand over our enemies & total rule over our united, eternal capital. Keyn Y’Hi Ratzon.
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