Funny I hadn't posted anything in awhile so I realized I hadn't even looked at the Hakhel email yet from this past Thursday. As usual they have some inspiring insights. But it is amazing bc as I was reading #1 below I was like, wow, I had recently been thinking about a similar idea.
As we find ourselves in Galut (especially in Chutz LaAretz, I suppose) it can be really easy to lose ourselves in enjoying the weather and nature, etc. I realize it's important to appreciate all of our beautiful surroundings that H-shem created for us. But I think an important lesson of 9 Av is to not forget Yerushalayim and as pleasant as life in Galut can be in times this is not where we ideally belong and apart from being tzanua in general we can never "blend in with the surroundings" too much because we are B'nei Yisrael, H-shem's chosen nation. Let's try to remember on our own so we won't have to be reminded in any unpleasant way, or, better yet, let's do all we can to bring the Geulah! :) -EAC
From Thursday's Hakhel email:
1. The Kinnos are in disorder, with Kinnos about the Crusades interspersed among different Kinnos relating to Yerushalayim, the burning of Seforim and Yoshiyahu HaMelech, the Arzei Halevanon and children in exile, because, truth be told, our life in Galus is a life in disarray. Nobody really wants to live with his life turned upside down. We should pity those (and especially ourselves) who have gotten used to (and are actually content ) living in ephemeral conditions and unordinary circumstances. Every so often--look around at the non-Torah world around you and say--'No, this is not my world'.
2. Tisha B'Av is called a Mo'ed, for we 'meet' with Hashem on this day as well--the difference being that on the Yomim Tovim, the Moadim we meet with Hashem and He gives us a kiss, while on Tisha B'Av, we meet with Hashem and he gives us a potch. Both the kiss and the potch are given out of His love for us--one is to reward us and show us how much He appreciates us, while the other is to help set us straight (Telzer Rav). There is a significant difference, however, between the Yomim Tovim and Tisha B'Av in that the Yomim Tovim are referred to as Mo'adei Hashem (Vayikra 23:4), while Tisha B'Av is referred to in Eicha as "Korah Alai Moed" --the Moed is called upon me. Clearly, a Mo'ed of Hashem is superior to a Mo'ed of mine, a Mo'ed of Bnai Yisroel. We should move away from the inferior encounter to the kind of meeting that Hashem would like. All of the Mo'adei Hashem are marked by special activities in the Bais HaMikdash, and Tisha B'Av is not marked--but marred--by the absence of all such activity. When all is said and done, at the end of our 19 Brachos of Shemone Esrei--we finally conclude with the Yehi Ratzon SheYibaneh Bais HaMikdash for it is ONLY there that, as the Yehi Ratzon itself explains, we will: a. finally attain our ultimate potential in Torah; b. serve Hashem with ultimate Yirah; and c. our service to Hashem will be fully and finally pleasing to Hashem. With this realization--that we really and truly need the Bais HaMikdash to attain our own perfection--how can we not recite these concise words of Yehi Ratzon three times a day--paying close attention to the words and with feeling? Perhaps we can even put a hand out while reciting this all-fulfilling request, as we ask and beg Hashem for his extreme consideration. Let us remember that everything we do now is only a replacement for the real. We pray that "Uneshalma Forim Sefaseinu...that the sacred words uttered by our lips serve as a replacement. Lehavdil, if you have a replacement house or a replacement car--don't you want the original back--isn't that the true one, the one that is really yours? Let us turn to what is real: How incredible it was (and will be!!) to enter the Bais HaMikdash and be overtaken by an air of Emunah and Yirah, of Kedusha and Tahara! Even the clothes of the Kohanim, and their partaking of the karbanos brought great Kapparah to us. Outside of the Bais HaMikdash, Yerushalayim teemed with Ruchniyus--as one's physical needs were often met with karbanos and Ma'aser Sheni, and everyone always had a place to s ay. To us, this is not all a world long gone--but a world very much expected back, and very, very much needed. Truly, nothing could be more important than reaching our personal and communal spiritual potential--forever, and ever and ever. Even outside the Shemone Esrei's conclusion we should especially focus our Kavannah when reciting the third bracha of Bentsching (Rachem Na--counting each thing we are asking Hashem to have mercy on as listed there), and at other personal times during the day.
3. The word Mikdash indicates holiness. The Palgei Mayim (the commentary of the Nesivos on Eichah) explains that the antithesis of Kedusha is Tumah--such as when the Greeks or Romans came in and defiled the Mikdash. Something we can do now to demonstrate our affinity to Mikdash is to bring Kedusha into our lives through acts of Kiddush Hashem (such as being punctilious in financial matters), and going to special lengths in avoid Tumah --avoiding and rejecting the pritzus around us --especially during the difficult (but potentially highly rewarding) summer months.