Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rebuilding and Rededication

Important thoughts for 4 Av from today's Hakhel Email:

Special Note Four: Today is marked on the Jewish calendar in an incredible way. On the Fourth day of Av, Nechemiah, the leader of the Jewish people who had returned from Galus Bavel, began to repair the broken walls of Yerushalayim. Indeed, portions of this rebuilt wall can still be seen today. The repair process took 52 days, and was completed on the 25th of Elul. Thus, the 'repair' of Yerushalayim began during the very Nine Day Period in which we commemorate and commiserate over its destruction and loss. It is no coincidence, as it never is, that those studying Daf Yomi, spent a couple of days beginning on *Rosh Chodesh Av* (and in Mesechta Shevuos of all places!) describing Nechemiah’s rededication of the Azara in the Bais HaMikdash at the outset of Bayis Sheni as well. There is no doubt that the time period we are in reverberates with our relationship to Yerushalayim and the Bais HaMikdash. It is up to us to steer it away from the direction of destruction and ruin and towards the course of an everlasting rebuilding and rededication.

HaRav Elyashiv, Shlita, makes a wonderful point in this regard. Chazal teach that when adding on to the Mikdash, one of the chapters of Tehillim that was recited was Tehillim Chapter 30, appropriately entitled “Mizmor Shir Chanukas HaBayis LeDovid--a song for the inauguration of the Bais HaMikdash by Dovid HaMelech.” We are all very familiar with this Kepital, for we recite it in Shacharis every morning, and daily on Chanukah when we also commemorate the rededication of the Bais HaMikdash. HaRav Elyashiv asks a stark question--after we recite the first Pasuk of Mizmor Shir Chanukas HaBayis--what does the rest of the Kepitel have to do at all with the Bais HaMikdash? Take a look at the rest of the Pesukim, such as “Shivati Eilecha Vetirpaeini--I cried out to You, and You healed me.” “Histarti Phanecha Hayisi Nivhal--You conceal Yourself, and I am confounded.” “Hashem Heyei Ozer Li--Hashem be my Helper.” In looking at the Kepitel, it appears to be a moving and personalized plea for Hashem’s help. But, once again, what does it have to do with the Bais HaMikdash?! HaRav Elyashiv answers that Dovid HaMelech truly felt that as long as the Bais HaMikdash was not in a position of great prominence--he himself was suffering, he himself was in anguish and incomplete. However, with a built Mikdash, he exclaims “He’elisa Min Sheol Nafshi--you have raised up my soul from the lower world!” This, then is Dovid HaMelech’s lesson to us from Tehillim Chapter 30. Because we lack the Bais HaMikdash in all of its splendor--we must inwardly feel the full measure of the Yiddish expression: “Se Gait Mir In Laiben--it troubles me terribly, it troubles me personally.” Please look at the Kepital again and envisage how your need for the Chanukas HaBayis bothers you as much as your own predicaments and circumstances, your own troubles and difficulties--and how the Chanukas HaBayis itself will usher in the utmost joy. Every time we recite this Chapter (for Nussach Ashkenaz it actually inaugurates the Pisukei DeZimra)--we should have in mind not only our own trials and tribulations, but also how much the absence of a Bais HaMikdash personally means--after all it is the Mizmor Shir Chanukas HaBayis. With this zechus of a true and proper recital of this Kepitel daily, we come to its the last, conclusory and climactic Pasuk--“LeMan Yezamercha Chavod VeLo Yidom, Hashem Elokai LeOlam Odeka--so that my soul might sing to you and not be still-- Hashem I will thank you forever!”

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