By Dani Eisenstock, former Torah MiTzion Shaliach in Kansas City (2002-03)
This Shabbat we will be celebrating on the 9th of Av. This year it will be a true celebration, including eating meat and drinking wine on the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. How can this be?
Why is the Shabbat before Tishaa Bav called Chazon? Chazon means vision. Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev says that this Shabbat each person is revealed the vision of what the Third Beit Hamikdash will look like. The fast of the 9th of Av comes out at the wrong time of year. It cuts into our summer vacations. It is a nuisance when we are trying to go to a good concert, have a summer BBQ or just go for a swim. We will all go to shul and we will all sit on the ground have a good cry, tell our children, students or friends that next year we wont have to fast. We will tell ourselves that we will try to be better people to make the world a better place. But really are we going to make a change in our lives? In order to truly make this happen it takes real vision and courage.
Parshat Dvarim is always read before the fast of Tisha B’Av – in this parsha we learn about the true leadership of our greatest leader – Moshe Rabeinu. Throughout the parsha Moshe details all the hardships that we went through trying to enter the land of Israel; the story of the spies, 40 years in the desert, wars that we went through; all for one purpose – to enter the land of Israel. The beauty of this parsha and the heartbreaking part is the fact the Moshe Rabeinu did not enter the land. He only saw the land, he only had the vision. He put himself aside and lead an entire life that was only for other people.
On Tisha’a B’Av we don’t learn Torah, we don’t eat and we don’t drink. Not because we are sad. Reb Shlomo Carlebach explains that we don’t want to be part of the world that is like this. If the Torah that we are learning can cause people to insult and shame other people in the name of the Torah, If the Torah that we are learning can cause us to feel that we are better than other Jews- then this Torah is not for us. We don’t eat or drink because we don’t want to live in a world where one of the holiest places for the Jewish people has become a battle ground between orthodox and reform Jews.
The Beit Hamikdash we are all waiting for is not only a beautiful structure that will be built for all the nations to come and pray together to Hashem, it will be a mindset, it will be truly understanding that the entire nation of Israel, with all it’s different parts, will be one body working together to make the world a better place. If there is one thing I learned on my shlichut in Torah MiTzion Kansas City, it was to appreciate the different types of Jews that makeup the beautiful nation of Am Yisrael – if everyone wants to be a heart the body won’t work, if everyone wants to be a foot we won’t be able to function.
This Shabbat we will be celebrating Tisha B’Av – we will have a glimpse of what the Third Temple will look like. It is in our hands to make this vision a reality. Chazal teach us that Tisha B’Av is the day that the spies came back from spying the land of Israel. We listened to them say – we were like grasshoppers in our own eyes and that’s how they perceived us as well. The way to rectify the sin of the spies is for each and every Jew to take a look at how great they are and in this same way look at other people in our community, in our city, country and in the entire world. When we look at the good sides of our brothers and sisters this will truly bring out the greater good in our nation.
May we all merit in seeing the true vision of our third temple and may it be built through our great acts of love and kindness.
ציון במשפט תיפדה ושביה בצדקה