Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The daily learning of this sefer is L'Zacher Nishmas Sorah Breina A'H bas Ezriel Shalom Sarah Klein 6 Av 5772 Special Note One: We continue with additional thoughts on one’s ‘giving a Shiur’ (at least to oneself) on Leil Tisha B’Av--what to reflect upon on Tisha B’Av--and what to change in a meaningful way so that, if it must come, this is the final Tisha B’Av in Galus. Part II 1. It is easy to improperly reflect on Tisha B’Av. One may mistakenly think that his actions today are no different than the actions he has undertaken since before his Bar Mitzvah, and not really different than his grandfather’s actions in Europe or Syria, or his great-great-grandfather’s actions in Poland, Turkey, Italy or Eretz Yisrael. The experience of Tisha B’Av should not be one of Yei’ush--despair, combined with a feeling of hypocrisy--knowing that one will eat on Sunday night, have Shabbos Nachamu in a week and hopefully take a few vacation days before September. No, Tisha B’Av is quite to the contrary a time for us to revitalize our Achakeh Lo--our anticipation, our outstretched hope, our true yearning that the Moshiach really finally does come, and mankind reaches its final goal. It is one of the most basic tenets of Torah belief, as told and retold by our Nevi’im, that the Geulah will come. As to why the Moshiach did not come in the times of Rav and Shmuel, in the times of Ravina and Rav Ashi, or those of Rashi, the Rambam, the Ramban, the Bais Yosef, the Gra, Rebbi Akiva Eiger, the Belzer Rebbe, the Ben Ish Chai or any of the outstandingly great Gedolei HaDor we have had in the past, it is simply not something we can understand at this moment. Furthermore, for all of those who thought that it would be the Chofetz Chaim, the Chazon Ish, the Baba Sali, the Steipeler, HaRav Shach, or HaRav Elyashiv that would lead us to Moshiach, this is also, devastatingly, not the reality now. Nevertheless, we must intensely believe, and intensely demonstrate, that we know that the Geulah will come. We must bring home to ourselves that it is not another Tisha B’Av because it was so last year, the year before, or a hundred years before. It is another Tisha B’Av because in the stretch between Tisha B’Av 5771 and 5772, we simply did not put enough bricks on the wall. The absolute truth is that it may literally be his one extra hour of Torah study, or her one act of Chesed that brings us over the top. The Alter of Kelm teaches that one of the greatest lessons of Tisha B’Av is rooted in the Sefer Nefesh HaChaim: The stabbing of the Paroches by Titus after he and his soldiers had come into the Bais HaMikdash and defiled it in any way they thought possible was, in fact, deemed by Hashem to be a meaningless act, with no effect in the Heavens whatsoever. Indeed, as Chazal teach, the Heavens cried out at the time of the destruction: “[What have you done--nothing!] You have burned a burnt building.” Each one of us, on the other hand, can make the Heavens shake with a deed of kindness, an act of goodness, a sincere prayer, and meaningful Teshuvah. It is up to us, each and every day until the Geulah arrives. There is hope, there is a future, there is an end. All of the sad Tisha B’Avs will vanish into past history, hopefully sooner than later. We all chant together at the end of Megillas Eicha (5:21): “Hashiveinu Hashem Eilecha VeNashuva Chadeish Yameinu KiKedem--bring us back to You Hashem, and we shall return, renew our days as of old.” When we can achieve this point--not only will Eicha be at an end--but so will this bitter Galus, and the sweet Geulah will begin!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
תורה תורה חגרי שק אוי לנו כי אבדנו את רבינו With hearts filled with sadness and eyes filled with tears, we join Klal Yisroel in mourning the passing of our master and leader, שר התורה, Posek Hador Maran HaGaon HaGadol HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv זצוק"ל May we be zoche to learn from his life, a life lived to the fullest degree, a life dedicated to Hashem, His holy Torah and His holy nation. May we strive to emulate him in any way that we can; be it by following halacha a little better, learning Torah a little more, having a little more Kavanah while davening, loving our fellow Jews just a little more, avoiding Lashon Hara, or any other way we can emulate his lofty legacy. May we be zoche to the swift arrival of Mashiach, Techiyas Hameisim, the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash and an end to the many Tzaros afflicting Klal Yisroel on every level. Please, please Hashem , give us all the collective wisdom to love one another, despite our differences, and remove any and all שנאת חינם from our hearts. Please, please Hashem, answer our collective Tefilos and allow the Geulah to arrive quickly, and make this coming Tisha B'Av a day of global rejoicing. והיה ד' למלך על כל הארץ ביום ההוא יהיה ד' אחד ושמו אחד
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
We're almost there - this was so uplifting that I had to publish it; being reminded by a friend re my blog that I have been neglecting lately...from today's Hakhel email FROM THE SEFER YEARNING WITH FIRE: “Being metzapim l’yeshuah is not only mandatory, but especially essential now, because, as the Chofetz Chaim and the Michtav MeiEliyahu write, ‘all the signs pointing to Mashiach’s arrival have already been fulfilled’. We are like people coming to the end of a long journey, who are told, “Go over the bridge, pass two sets of traffic lights, and just keep going until you see the sign that says ‘Entrance.’ Then you’re there.” Would a person travel the entire way and then, just when he must start looking for the “Entrance” sign, give up the effort? We have come so far, the Chofetz Chaim and Michtav MeiEliyahu are telling us. Now, more than ever, we must indeed keep our eyes focused on the horizon, trying to catch a glimpse of the rapidly approaching Mashiach.” Hakhel Note: How is one metzpeh l’yeshuah? That is what Yearning with Fire is about! 89 Day, 5 Minute Lesson-A-Day Program. We once again urge you to being the Program--it is extremely enriching--and we hope you will see the Yeshua before its completion! ------------------------------------------ Special Note One: We continue with our study of the Nineteen Brachos of Shemone Esrei. This week we focus on the Tenth Bracha of Shemone Esrei--Kibutz Galios--Gathering in our Exiles! HaRav Chaim Friedlander, Z’tl, points out that the bakashos in Shemone Esrei until this point were essentially personal bakashos for ourselves--and are only requested in the plural because we join our brothers together with us. Beginning with Tekah B’Shofar, we begin a series of brachos on behalf of all of K’lal Yisrael as a Tzibbur. HaRav Friedlander emphasizes that we must recognize that to us redemption means not merely the physical redemption from the lands of the 70 nations and the return of us all to Eretz Yisrael (in and of itself a great accomplishment), but also our spiritual redemption--an unfathomable lifting of our spirits in Avodas Hashem. Our physical redemption, and our tribulations and sufferings will end because the spiritual redemption has occurred. HaRav Friedlander explains that the Shofar blast to occur at the outset of our Geulah is more than a physical sound--it is a symbol (as it is on Rosh Hashanah) of the weakening and downward fall of the Yetzer Hara within every member of K’lal Yisrael. Indeed, the Shofar Gadol at that time will have a greater impact and affect upon us even than the unrelenting Shofar blast at Har Sinai--for it will effect a Nitzachon Gamur over the Yetzer Hara. This is the meaning of Tekah B’Shofar Gadol L’Cheiruseinu--to be freed, this time entirely--from the Yetzer Hara’s misplaced drives, animal-driven desires and core antagonism towards Avodas Hashem. Hakhel Note: It would seem that the blast will be a Tekiyah sound only--representing no weakness, no let up, and no staggered or slow approach--but rather a strong, unrelenting and decisive victory. The Kavannah we have when reciting the words Tekah B’Shofar Gadol L’Cheiruseinu may be telling as to how sincerely we want to attain this great and lofty moment--victory, at last!