Essay for Shabbat Chazon and Tisha B’av 2014

We want to thank our dear friends who are continuing to pray for our soldiers and for the welfare of Israel. Here on Itamar it is very hard for all of us – many of our young men are on the front line in Gaza right now. Those who are privileged to enjoy a quiet Shabbat mustn’t forget our boys in the battle field who are out there fighting for the future of our people. This Shabbat is called “Chazon” – we read the first chapter of Isaiah where he talks about the spiritual decline in Israeli society. This he prophesized around 250 years before the destruction of the first temple. He saw what would cause the downfall of our people and warned us to repent. Unfortunately, Israel did not heed his words and we suffered the destruction of two temples. Today after thousands of years of exile we are blessed to have returned to our land and witness the building of a beautiful country. The consoling words of our prophets have come true. Tisha B’av has taken on a different mood and meaning. Our focus of mourning on this solemn day must be on giving Israel the strength to overcome its enemies and allow us to move forward in building our third temple. It is no longer a dream but a reality that is getting closer and closer to fruition. I read a story this week in a Yiddish newsletter that bothered me. It spoke about the holy Rebbe of Berdychiv Z”TL that when he would make a wedding he would write on the invitation that the wedding is scheduled to take place in Jerusalem and if for some reason the Beit Hamikdash is not yet built then it will take place in Berdychiv. This, of course, is a very special story when you go back to the 19th century when he lived. In those days it wasn’t easy to move to Israel and Jerusalem wasn’t liberated yet. So it, indeed, reflected the great Rebbe’s love and desire to return to the land.  Unfortunately something went wrong with the way the Chasidim were educated upon arriving in the United States- they don’t see Jerusalem of today as part of the redemption process. Instead they choose to continue to remain in exile and duplicate the shtetl lifestyle of Eastern Europe in America. This is a great tragedy and is worth mourning about on Tisha B’av itself. While Am Yisrael is being collected from all the four corners of the earth HOME, her boys fight for her very existence in complete self-sacrifice, it is hard to fathom Jewish people not giving thought to what is happening in Israel today as it demands self-sacrifice from all of us as a nation!

The redemption process is a slow moving process that our sages describe as “kimah Kimah” one step at a time. Let us pray that the Jews of the world wake up and snap out of their stupor as events spiral forward at a yet faster rate as the minutes fly by. It is top priority for everyone to be a part of the mission of returning home and protecting the Land in whatever way through whatever means he or she can!

Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith

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