Thursday, July 11, 2013


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Devorim - Shabbos Chazon
5 Menachem Av 5773/July 12, 2013
Pirkei Avos – perek 3

From all over the tri-state area, and then some, they came. Cars laden with water, soda, and enough nosh to feed an army, pulled up to camp on Visiting Day morning. Even the sweltering ninety degree heat couldn’t stop them, as they marched across the vast Camp Dora Golding campus to see their sons. It’s that first sighting, followed by that first hug and kiss (“Mom please! My friends are watching!” “I don’t care! I lugged you around for nine months, so I’m allowed to kiss you in front of anyone.”) which is the most special.
It’s been over nineteen hundred years since the Bais Hamikdash has been destroyed and Jerusalem reduced to a wasteland of destruction by our enemies. And G-d is still waiting to give us that initial hug and kiss upon our return.
On Tisha B’av we confront our pain. Throughout most of the year we seek to hide ourselves from the things that make us feel uncomfortable and sad. Our society has no place for tears. Tears are viewed as wimpy, and we like to be macho and cool. On Tisha B’av we face the truth which is that for all we have accomplished, in exile we are an incomplete nation. We are still not home, even in our homeland.
I believe that - without most people even realizing it - one of the most poignant moments of the Jewish year takes place on Tisha B’av. We spend Tisha B’av morning sitting on the floor recalling the endless persecution, suffering, and anguish that our nation has been subjected to in every exile. Some of the events we recall are so utterly catastrophic and painful that we just want to cover our ears and run out of shul shouting “Stop! Stop! It cannot be!” Yet all that we say and recount is not even the tip of the iceberg of how much more there is that we don’t say.
We conclude the recitation of kinnos by singing in unison “Aili Tzion” -proclaiming that Tzion and her cities continue to cry in inconsolable mourning for all the grief and anguish she has suffered. After we have cried our tears, lamented our losses, and wept together, we conclude shacharis.
What are the first words we state after spending the entire morning recalling the forfeiture of our pride and the merciless persecution of our enemies?
Ashrei yoshvei baysecha – Praiseworthy are those who dwell in Your House; forever they will continue to praise You! Praiseworthy is the nation that such is their lot; praiseworthy is the people that Hashem is their G-d!”
It’s absolutely mind-boggling! What a people! How incredibly loyal! How fiercely proud! We are a nation that prioritizes our faith above all else - even our loved ones, and even life itself! Despite all that we have just recounted, despite all we have been subjected to, we proclaim our praiseworthiness in bearing it all. We would not have it any other way.
We are proud to bear the banner of Torah as the nation of Hashem, despite the price it costs. We know and believe that all of our losses are a precursor and a microcosm of the glory and pride that awaits us when Hashem dries our tears forever, and at last, gives us that hug and kiss. 
Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos
A meaningful Tisha B’av,
    R’ Dani and Chani Staum

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