Skip to main content

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!


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…