Eve of 11 Menachem Av, 5751

1. This year, the fast of Tishah B’Av was postponed and was held today, the tenth of Av. We have already recited the Minchah prayers, including the passage Nachaim (“Take comfort”).

That passage is recited in the afternoon service, because Moshiach “is born” Tishah B’Av afternoon; i.e., this is the time when “mazalo, his spiritual source, shines powerfully.” Each year for the past two thousand years, on Tishah B’Av afternoon, Moshiach receives new power and new strength, and from year to year, this influence grows more powerfully.

In essence, this took place on Shabbos, on the afternoon of Tishah B’Av itself. For although the fast of Tishah B’Av and the undesirable aspects associated with that day were postponed, there is no need to say that the positive aspects connected with that day are postponed. On the contrary, Shabbos surely enhances and amplifies these positive influences.1 And thus the potential for Moshiach was strengthened this year, even before the fast was begun.

This is particularly true since Shabbos is Shabbos Chazon, the Shabbos on which we are shown the Third Beis HaMikdash in all its beauty and splendor. Included in the Third Beis HaMikdash will also be the previous two,2 and the three Batei Mikdashos together create a chazakah, a sequence connected with strength and permanence which will bring out the positive nature of these Three Weeks.

On the surface, a sequence of three is a phenomenon which should exist only within holiness. To allow for free choice, however, G‑d granted the potential for this influence to be expressed in an undesirable fashion as reflected in the expression, “G‑d created the world in a manner, זה לעומת זה, this one opposite the other.”3

זה (“This one”) is numerically equivalent to twelve for the entire world is structured in a pattern of twelve as reflected in the twelve mazalos, (“heavenly sources of influences”). These mazalos parallel the twelve tribes of Israel, reflecting how the stars are used as an analogy for the Jews and emphasizing how the Jews dominate these sources of influence. And in regard to the Jews themselves “ain (אין) mazal liYisrael,” literally there is no mazal which controls the fate of the Jewish people. In a more homiletical sense, ayin (אין), transcendent G‑dliness, is the force which controls the Jews’ destiny.

And this is enhanced by our Minchah prayers. As explained in Chassidus,prayer represents “a redemption in microcosm” on the individual sphere, within a person’s soul and thus within the world at large. And may speaking of these matters bring the Redemption in macrocosm, the complete and total Redemption here in this lowly world.

In that Redemption (as opposed to the Return to Zion in the era of Ezra), the entire Jewish people will return to Eretz Yisrael. This includes the ingathering of exiles in our day (which is aided by the prayers of Rachel). And will also include the ingathering of the Jews who will be born in the future (for their birth will be hastened), and also the Jews of the previous generations; “Those that lie in the dust will arise and sing.”4

This is particularly true in the present year, a year when “I will show you wonders.” And it will be enhanced by the distribution of money to be given to tzedakah. Here too, we see a connection to the Redemption as emphasized by the closing verse of Shabbos’ Haftorah, “Zion will be redeemed by judgment and those who return to her, by tzedakah.

Had we merited, the complete and ultimate Redemption would have come even before Tishah B’Av. And then the tenth of Menachem Av5 would have been marked in a completely different manner. For whatever reason, a reason that cannot be understood, G‑d decided to hold back the Redemption, and thus the tenth of Av was associated with fasting, “And the tenth will be holy.” This will, however, be quickly followed by the singing of the tenth song, the song of the Redemption. May this be in the immediate future.

FOOTNOTES

1. The connection between Shabbos and the positive aspects affecting the Jewish people is reflected in our Sages’ statement that Shabbos and the Jews are a pair. I.e., each of the six preceding days found a complement in the day which either preceded or followed it. Shabbos had no complement and was therefore paired with the Jews who also have no complement; i.e., they cannot be paired with any other nation, nor even with G‑d’s ministering angels. (This is because everything in existence was created “for the sake of the Torah… and for the sake of the Jewish people.” Accordingly, there can be nothing in creation on the level of the Jews themselves.)

2. This is reflected in the association developed by Rashi in his commentary to Parshas Pekudei between the wordsMishkan, “sanctuary” and mashkon,“surety.” He explains that the first twoBatei Mikdashos were taken as “sureties” from the Jewish people. Sureties are, however, returned with the payment of the debt. So too, these Batei Mikdashos will be returned together with the Third Beis HaMikdash.

3. This also is associated with the possibility of the transformation of these negative influences into good. To borrow a concept, one’s intentional sins will be transformed into merits.

The three factors, the positive side, the negative side, and the transformation of the negative into the positive also represents a chazakah which is connected to the Third Beis HaMikdash.

4. Even those Jews who were not buried in Eretz Yisrael reach our Holy Land through underground channels. Thus, they are already there in Chebron together with the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, or in Jerusalem, or in other places there.

5.This implies that all the matters associated with Av are drawn down in a manner connected with Menachem,“comforting.”

 

Translation: SichosInEnglish

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End of 11 Menachem Av, 5751

1. A Jew should endeavor to connect everything which occurs in his life with the Torah. In this context, we can find a direct connection between the previous day, the eleventh of Av, and the beginning of last week’s Torah portion (Devarim) which mentions “eleven days journey from Choreb.”

This passage deals with the preparations of the Jews to enter Eretz Yisrael.  Thus, the eleventh of each month reminds us of this. The connection is particularly apparent this month, for the name of the month contains the word Menachem (“comforter”) which relates to the full and complete Redemption. In that era, the Jews will experience true comfort and enter Eretz Yisrael in the ultimate sense.

Similarly, the name “Choreb” reflects a connection to the Torah for Choreb is another name for Mount Sinai, the mountain on which the Torah was given.1 InChassidus, it is explained that eleven refers to a level above the limits of nature which are associated with a set of ten. Thus, for a Jew to relate to the Torah, he must travel an “eleven days journey,” i.e., he must go beyond his natural limits. This is, however, possible for a Jew’s essential nature is above all limits, even the limits of Torah. For as explained in Tana D’bei Eliyahu,2 the Jews’ existence precedes that of all other entities, even the Torah itself.

A further connection to the Torah comes from the fact that today is Tuesday and is thus related to our Sages’ statement, “Good to the heavens and good for the created beings.” This redoubled positive influence is associated with the Torah for all matters that are kiflayim (double) are associated with kiflayim l’toshiah, “double salvation.” And herein is the connection with Torah which is called Toshiah.

Similarly, there is a connection to the redemption in this week’s Torah portion which begins with a description of Moshe’s prayers to enter Eretz Yisrael.Indeed, the very name Vaeschanan (ואתחנן) is numerically equivalent to 515, i.e., Moshe recited 515 prayers entreating G‑d to allow him to enter Eretz Yisrael.3

Although Moshe knew that his place would be taken by Yehoshua who would be the individual who would actually lead the Jews into Eretz Yisrael, Moshe continued to pray until G‑d had to issue an explicit command telling him to cease.

Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that, even after this command, that Moshe actually ceased praying to enter Eretz Yisrael. His desire — and indeed, this is the true desire of every Jew — toenter the land had no limitations and therefore he pursued it with self-sacrifice. Even when G‑d told him to cease praying, his self-sacrifice motivated him to continue.4 One can assume that even as he was standing on Mount Nebo and looking at Eretz Yisrael before his death, he was still praying to enter the land.

There is another related issue which reflects the extent of Moshe’s self-sacrifice. Seemingly, the reason he was not allowed into Eretz Yisrael depended on the people at large and not on his own personal self. Nevertheless, rather than leave his flock in the desert and seek his own personal fulfillment, he remained in the desert together with them.5

There is no need to dwell on the subject longer for Mashiach will surely come at the very next moment,6 and there will be one less moment of exile and one more moment of redemption. And then, we will all enter Eretz Yisrael.

This will be accomplished by the services alluded to in the concluding verse of the Shabbos Haftorah “Zion will be redeemed by judgment and those who return to her, by tzedakah.” Through increasing our study of the Torah and performance of its mitzvos, which as a whole can be described as tzedakah, we will hasten the redemption. G‑d will nullify all the factors which have, for certain unexplicable reasons, enabled the exile to exist until now.

And we will see how the present day, the third day of Parshas Vaeschanan, is connected with the Third Beis HaMikdash, which is waiting in the spiritual realms to descend to this world. At that time, the gates of the Beis HaMikdash which “sunk into the ground” during Jerusalem’s fall will arise. And Moshiach will attach the gates to the building which will descend from heaven.7

This is particularly true because of the influence of Shabbos Chazon, when eachJew saw the Beis HaMikdash. Furthermore, the Berditchever Rebbe uses the analogy of a garment to describe the Third Beis HaMikdash. Not only have we seen the garment, we have put it on, as it were. For this can be figuratively associated with the Previous Rebbe’s custom of wearing his tallis on Tishah B’Av morning8 — although he would remove it before participating in communal prayer. And from “wearing the garment,” we will proceed to the actual Beis HaMikdash. May this take place in the immediate future.

FOOTNOTES
1. This is particularly true since, each day, a Jew should appreciate the giving of the Torah as a present day occurrence and not a matter of past history.
2. Herein there is also a connection to the positive aspects of Menachem Av, for Eliyahu is the prophet of redemption who will announce Moshiach’s coming.
3. Alternatively, 515 could be taken as a reference to the limits of this world. There are seven heavens above our physical earth and seven spaces, the first between the earth and the first of these heavens and then one between each of the heavens themselves. The earth, each of these heavens and each of these spaces are described as being “a five hundred year journey” long. Thus 515 could be interpreted as referring to this entire set of 15 five hundred year journeys. Moshe’s prayer broke through all these limits.
4. Moshe’s objective in prayer was two-fold: not only that he would enter Eretz Yisrael, but that Yehoshua — who shared a close connection with him, “never leaving his tent” — should not suffer any loss. Despite the fact that this was no small objective, he continued to pray without respite.
5. We see a related concept in Torah law. When a teacher is obligated to go into exile, his entire yeshivah is sent into exile together with him. Similarly, when students are exiled, the teacher should accompany them.
6. This is the intent of the phrase “I will await his coming every day,” not only that each day one will await the ultimate coming of Moshiach, but that one will expect that he come on that very day itself.
7. In this manner, we can resolve the seeming contradiction between different sources, some of which say that Moshiachwill build the Beis HaMikdash, while others say that theBeis HaMikdash will descend from heaven. According to the above, both are true. For although the Beis HaMikdash will descend from heaven, by attaching the gates, Moshiachwill perform an activity which the Halachah considers equivalent to building the entire structure.
8. A tallis covers one’s head and the majority of his body, this reflects how he and all his possessions are enclothed in mitzvos.
Translation:  Sichos In English