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Thought for the Day: A Time to Cry, A Time to Rejoice

As far as I know, Shlomo HaMelech is the only author of kisvei kodech whose work made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  I am quite confident that none are jealous of that fact.  None the less, The Byrds did infuse the American pop scene (and, by extension, us Americans) with a small taste of wisdom from the wisest of all men.

The third perek of Koheles notes several pairs of opposite activities and emotions, declaring that each is in this world for a purpose and has a time.  One of those is a time to cry.  On that Rashi says, "zo tisha b'av" -- this is Tisha b'Av.  Rashi does not say "k'mo tisha b'av" -- like Tisha b'Av.  Not "there are times to cry and one example is Tisha b'Av", but "Tisha b'Av is that day to cry".  I had always thought that our illustrious ancestors had infused sorrow into this day by crying for nothing when the m'raglim returned with their damaging report.  However, R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach offers a new insight from the Zohar haKadosh.

As is well know, we have 365 "gidim"/sinews which correspond to the 365 negative commandments and to the 365 days of the solar year.  The Zohar haKodesh (Parashas b'shalach, 170b) says that Tisha b'Av corresponds to the gid ha'nasheh!  Moreover, one who eats (and is not patur from the fast) eats on Tisha b'Av is considered to have eaten from the gid ha'nasheh.  It comes out that Tisha b'Av was already a day of weakness in our relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu from that fateful night when Yaakov Avinu struggled with the sar shel eisav.  The crying was, indeed, for nothing; but it was a confluence of pressures coming to bear at the weakest point that led to the actual separation.

Every year since then, we have fasted and cried.  It is the one day of year that talmid torah is extremely restricted.  We are crying about our separation from Avinu Makeinu.  That very crying, however, is a beautiful testament to our love for our Creator and our deep emuna that we will be re-united.  That crying and fasting each year infuses so much k'dusha into that day that it becomes the birthday of the mashiach tzidkeinu (may he come soon and in our days).  So much k'dusha that we don't even say tachanun.

Tisha b'Av is "eis livkos"/a time to cry.  But our crying is not in vain, it is healing.  May we all be zoche soon and in our days to enjoy the second half of that pasuk, eis lischok -- a time to rejoice!

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