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Turning Darkness Into Light
tells us in the name of his Rebbi that time doesn’t pass by us rather we pass
through time. When a given time of year comes around, we relive it. An example
of this is Shavuos as when it comes, we experience Matan Torah again.
Tisha B’av is known to be a
day of tragedy
and as the Gemara says אתם בכיתם...; you cried a crying without cause,
therefore, I will establish crying throughout the generations on this day.
The word to cry- בכי- means confusion as in והעיר
שושן נבוכה; the city of Shushan was bewildered.
The word for tears is דמעה. This is related to the term דמאי; produce that one isn’t sure if it was tithed, as it expresses
the idea of confusion. Now we can explain why דמע; tear, and מדע; why, are comprised of the same letters, as a question
symbolizes confusion. When one cries, he feels lost. So, what occurs when one
cries? Water streams forth from his eyes as water is a dissolver and this is
how he feels- dissolved, low. This also explains why one can’t talk when he is
crying, since he feels confused.
comments on ותצפנהו שלשה ירחים;
she hid Moshe for three months, that it also refers to the three months of Tamuz, Av,
and Teves. In these months, the attribute of Hashem’s kindness in the world is
hidden from us.
During this mourning period
we observe certain restrictions such as not taking a haircut, refraining from
listening to music and so on.
The Noda B’Yehuda
during the three weeks wouldn’t eat anything from animals- no fish, meat and
the like. From Rosh Chodesh Av until Tisha Bav, he would only eat dry bread
with ashes. He would not sleep in a bed rather on chairs and would have a
pillow for his head.
We know that although at
times life seems bitter, it is all for the
The same applies to this period of the three weeks which culminates with Tisha
Bav, a day rooted in Geula. Thus, in the system known as את בש, in which the first letter of the א-ב corresponds to the last,
the first day of Pesach (א) lines up with תשעה באב- ת.
With this we can grasp why the month is called מנחם אב as it a consolation for
us knowing that in the future when the Beis Hamikdash will be rebuilt, these
will be days of happiness.
This idea is shown to us in
Megilas Rus where נעמי said המר ש-די
Hashem has dealt bitterly with me. Taking the first letters of these words המר ש-די לי מאד, we notice it spells שלמה, since what appeared to be bitter was setting the way for the
birth of Shlomo who would build the Beis Hamikdash. So, it all turned out for
The Pasuk there concludes
with the word מאד. The Mishna
tells us on בכל מאדך that whatever measure Hashem
metes out to you, whether good or bad, thank Him as we should thank Hashem even
if an occurrence seems negative. The letters that precede that of מאד are גלת; exile, as ג is before ד, ל is before מ and ת is before א. On the other hand, the letters that come
after מאד spell בנה (ב is after א, נ is after מ and ה is after ד) which refers to בנה בניתי; built a house of
habitation for Hashem.
With this we can grasp משכרתך
שלמה מעם ה';
may your payment be full from Hashem, which can also be interpreted as
referring to Shlomo. We should merit to see the building of the Beis Hamikdash
speedily in our days.
R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai
Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman
Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites
and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim
where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching
Jews of all levels of observance.
Michtav M’Eliyahu, volume 2,
p 21. See Sota 14a, Tosafos מפני as well
as Breishis 37:14
This is the idea of a
birthday. The Karbon Haeida (1707-1762), who was a Rav in Berlin, writes in his
commentary to Yerushalmi (Rosh Hashana 3:8, s.v. היה) that one usually doesn’t get harmed on his birthday since his
Mazel is with him and protects him on this day.
Esther 3:15. When Adam
sinned, Hashem said אַיֶכָּה; where
are you (Breishis 3:9)- an expression of confusion. This is the same word as איכה (מגילת איכה), which we read on a day
of confusion- Tisha B’av.
He was a Rav and Av Beis Din
in Prague. The noted author of the Chaye Adam was among his students. The Noda
B’Yehuda lived from 1713 until 1793.
In a Shul in New Jersey, an
argument that ensued between the president of a shul and the Rav if the Tefila
of אב הרחמים should be recited on a
particular Shabbos in the month of Av (see Mishna Brura 284:16). The Rav ruled
it should be said. This led to the dismissal of the Rav soon after Shabbos. In
the meantime, a Rav in the neighboring town of Elizabeth died and they were now
searching for a Rav. They hired this Rav who was recently fired. This new job
had 500 congregants whereas the previous shul has just 100. Additionally, it
was three times the salary of his previous position. At a Bar-Mitzva that took
place in the Shul where he was now Rav in, he was asked to speak. Unbeknown to
the Rav, the president from his previous position was invited and attended the
Bar-Mitzva. Disgusted, the president, after the speech, asked the Rav
disrespectfully how he got the job. His reply: the אב הרחמים; our merciful father,
Hashem! Sometimes we think an event may be bad when in essence Hashem is
looking out for us. This is what is meant in the Bracha of מודים (Shemoneh Esrei) in על חיינו המסורים בידך as He
knows what is best.
Orach Chaim, 428.
Incidentally, this is a deeper meaning in על מצות
(פסח) ומרורים (תשעה באב) יאכלוהו. See
Eicha Rabba 3:5 which connects Tisha Bav and Pesach. The Pasuk says מחבל בני יהודה נחלת בני שמעון; the
heritage of the children of Shimon was from the portion of the children of
Yehuda (Yehoshua 19:9). A similar connection is shown between Shimon and Yehuda
in the Bracha of Yehuda where it says שמע ה' קול יהודה (Devarim 33:7) as שמע refers to שמעון (see Rashi there). Shimon
corresponds to the month of Av whereas Yehuda to Nissan. This alludes to that
Galus (Av) is rooted in Geula (Nissan, the month that we were redeemed from
Mitzrayim). Indeed, Nissan is called חדש האביב (Shemos 13:4) which is a contraction of אב יב which is the name of this month- אב.