• Akiva Murguia

Rabbi Elimelech Biderman - Torah Wellsprings - Devarim-Tisha B'Av


Had the people living in the era of the churban prayed and beseeched Hashem that the churban and the exile shouldn’t come to be, their prayers would have been answered and the destruction avoided. The Midrash (Eichah Rabba 5:5) states, "The evil Nevuchadnezzer told Nevuzradan (when Nevuzradan was bringing the Jewish people to exile) 'Their G-d welcomes teshuvah … If they pray, Hashem will save them. Therefore, don’t let them stop walking for a moment, so they won't have the peace of mind to call out to Hashem.'" Nevuzradan followed this counsel. If any of the exiles stopped walking along, their limbs were amputated by Nevuzradan’s soldiers. This source shows us that even Nevuchadnezzer knew that the Jews could thwart the exile with their tefillos, so he prevented them from praying. Chazal (Taanis 29) teach, "When the first Beis HaMikdash was destroyed it was erev Tisha b'Av, Motzei Shabbos … and the Levi'im were saying shirah … They were up to the words, "Hashem will demolish them," (Tehillim 94) they didn’t yet say those words, and that's when the non Jews seized the Beis HaMikdash. The same happened by the second Beis HaMikdash." The implication is that had they said, "Hashem will demolish them," the two Batei Mikdash wouldn’t be destroyed. Their tefillah would have prevented the Churban.

The Mesilas Yesharim (19) writes, "One should constantly be praying for Bnei Yisrael's redemption and for the revelation of Hashem's honor. Perhaps one will ask, 'Who am I, and why am I important that I should pray for the redemption and for Yerushalayim? Could it be that because of my prayers the dispersed will be gathered and the redemption will come?' The answer to this question is, as it states in the Gemara, (Sanhedrin 37), 'Adam was created alone so everyone should say, 'the world was created just for me.' Hashem has pleasure when His children pray to Him about this matter. Even if their requests aren't answered — because the time hasn’t yet come, or for any other reason — nevertheless, they did what they should, and HaKadosh Baruch Hu is happy with that."

Humility is a primary, essential, and praiseworthy trait, but there is also a negative form of humility. That is being humble and not believing that his prayers can make a difference. It seems that Reb Zecharyah had this negative form of humility. He knew with his ruach hakodesh that the Beis HaMikdash would be destroyed, but he didn’t believe that Klal Yisrael has the ability to annul that decree with their tefillos. He didn’t appreciate the greatness of Klal Yisrael, and therefore he kept the information silent. Thus, Reb Yochanan was bemoaning this negative form of humility. This misplaced humility ended up destroying the Beis HaMikdash.

The Yaaras Dvash (Drush 5) teaches that the first Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because people weren't turning to Hashem in prayer. It wasn't only that they didn’t pray for the redemption; it was also that, in general, people weren't accustomed to praying to Hashem. That caused the destruction. As it states, "They didn’t pray to Hashem" (Tehillim 14:4).2 The Yaaras Dvash explains that we mourn primarily for the destruction of the first Beis HaMikdash. (The second Beis HaMikdash was only a respite.) Since the destruction came because they weren't praying, prayer is the way to rebuild the Beis HaMikdash.

The Gemara (Yoma 55:) states, "When the gentiles entered the Holy of Holies, they found the keruvim facing each other." This is surprising, for when the Jewish nation perform Hashem's will, the keruvim face each other, and in times of sin they turn away from each other (see Bava Basra 99.). So why were the keruvim facing each other at the time of the churban, at a time when there was sin? Reb Chaim Volozhiner (Nefesh HaChaim 1:8) writes, "It is known that one keruv represented Hashem and the other one represented the Jewish nation. According to the degree of closeness and connection of the Jewish people to Hashem — or chas veshalom the opposite — it was miraculously and wondrously seen by the positions of the keruvim. If the eyes of the Jewish nation were turned to Hashem, the keruvim would face one another. But if the Jewish nation turned away, or if they turned slightly to the side, that would immediately be seen by the positions of the keruvim. If, chas veshalom, they turn entirely around, the keruvim would suddenly turn away from each other, and they would be facing back to back." The question is, therefore, why were they facing each other at the time of the churban? Perhaps, the keruvim faced each other to tell the Jewish nation that if they will turn to Hashem in prayer, Hashem will turn to them. With prayer we have potential to be united with Hashem, facing one another just as it was when the Beis HaMikdash stood.

The Midrash Tanchumah (Vayeira 1) states, "Hakadosh Baruch Hu says to Bnei Yisrael, 'Be careful with prayer, because there is nothing greater than it. Prayer is greater than the sacrifices… Even if the person doesn’t deserve that I should answer his prayers…nevertheless, because of his many prayers, I will do kindness with him…'"

The Yaaras Dvash (Drush 5) writes, "Prayer (also called avodah) is all we have left in exile, since we can't bring the sacrifices. One should pray with humility, bowed, without rushing, and with concentration. Fortunate are those who cry and have a broken heart, for such prayers will certainly be answered. What can we rely on in exile, and what will protect us if not prayer coming from the depths of the heart?' Woe to us, for it states, 'A cloud shadows over your prayer to prevent the prayers from going up' (Eichah 3:44). This cloud is formed from forbidden speech, primarily from words spoken during prayer. However, if one prays with tears and concentration, his prayer will elevate the prayers of many years ago that were weak and didn’t have strength to go up. With his prayer with concentration and tears, they will go up and they will bring us goodness and blessings."

The Midrash states, "When Moshe saw that the Beis HaMikdash would be destroyed and bikurim would cease, he established set prayers three times a day." The explanation is, bikurim thanks Hashem for the land, for the fruit, and for all the good Hashem gives us. What will remind us to thank Hashem after the churban? Therefore Moshe established set prayers three times a day to remember that everything comes from Hashem; we can't take anything on our own.

About the mitzvah of perikah the Torah states, "If you see the donkey of your enemy crouching under its [heavy] load… help [the owner unload the animal]" (Shmos 23:5). Hashem keeps the entire Torah, therefore when Hashem sees a Jew crouching under the heavy load of exile, Hashem will certainly help him. But the Torah says that the mitzvah of perikah is only when you meet it. As the Gemara states, "The Torah says, 'When you see [the collapsed donkey].' Perhaps the obligation to help is even if you see the fallen donkey from the distance? Therefore the Torah writes (one verse earlier) only when you meet up with the animal." But if you see it from the distance, you aren't obligated to go there to help the owner unload the donkey. Reb Yehudah of Assad zt'l says, Hashem keeps the mitzvah of perikah, and He helps every Jew who’s collapsing under the heavy load of exile, but the condition is that one has to meet Hashem in prayer. As the Gemara (Brachos 26:) states, תפילה לשון פגיעה, the word פגיעה means prayer. Pray to Hashem, meet with Him, and he will relieve you from the heavy load you endure in exile.

The Meiri says that the Gemara states clearly that each person should pray for himself. The Meiri writes, "One should always be confident that a proper prayer annuls decrees. Someone who has an ill family member, or any other trouble, should go to a chacham to learn the path of prayer, and then he himself should pray for Hashem's compassion.”

Someone told his problems to the Rebbe of Kotzk zt'l. The Rebbe asked, "Do you pray?" The man replied, "Believe me, I have so many problems, I am not able to pray." The Kotzker said, "That’s your greatest problem. Why did you tell me your other problems before this one? You should have begun with your greatest problem, that you aren't able to pray…"

The Gemara (Yoma 9) states that the first Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of idol worship, immorality, and murder, and the second Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred. Then the Gemara adds the following: "By the first Beis HaMikdash, their sins were revealed, and they were therefore told when their exile will end (that after seventy years they would return to Eretz Yisrael). But by the second Beis HaMikdash, their sins weren't revealed and therefore they weren't told when this exile will end." After the first Beis HaMikdash, we knew that the exile would be for seventy years, but we were never told how long this present exile will be. The Gemara explains that this is because the sins of the first Beis HaMikdash were revealed, the sins of the second Beis HaMikdash weren't revealed. Rashi explains, by the first Beis HaMikdash it was revealed who was a rasha and who was a tzaddik. The wicked didn’t hide under a cloak of righteousness. In the merit of their transparency, they were told when their exile will end. But by the second Beis HaMikdash, the wicked would conceal their corruption and put on an appearance of righteousness. Since their sins were concealed, the redemption was also concealed from them.

Rebbe Yohonoson Eibshitz zy'a explains the Gemara using a different approach. He says that, "By the first Beis HaMikdash, their sins were revealed" means that their sins are clearly stated in the Navi. The verse say they were being punished for idol worship, immorality, and murder. They knew their sins and the cause of the destruction, so they knew what they had to improve. Therefore, it didn’t take them all that long to improve their ways, because they knew exactly what they had to fix. Seventy years later, they were redeemed. "But by the second Beis HaMikdash, their sins weren't revealed." In that era, there weren't prophets to tell them why they were being punished. Furthermore, even when they were told that the second Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam, it is hard for people to consciously accept that, because sinas chinam doesn’t appear to be a severe sin. Since they didn’t know the reason for their exile and for the churban, it was harder for them to do teshuvah. Nearly two thousand years have passed, and we aren't redeemed yet.

The Arizal created a hesger, an exclusive community compound, for his ten primary students, and he taught them the secrets of the Torah there. He warned them to be very cautious there should be no disputes among them. But one Friday, two of the women were bickering about something, and the husbands also got involved. Their shouts could be heard from the distance. Later that evening, the Arizal left the city limits of Tzfas, to be mekabel Shabbos with his students, as this was their weekly custom. Generally, the Arizal was extremely happy at this time, but this week he appeared sad. Reb Chaim Vital zt'l asked him about this, and the Arizal replied, "I heard the Samach Mem (Satan) say "Also you and also your king will die" (Shmuel 12:25) and I understand that it means that I am going to die, together with some of the students. And it is all because of the dispute of today. As long as there was peace among you, the Satan couldn’t enter our secluded compound..." And that is what happened. Less than a week later, on the fifth day of Av, the Arizal and five of his students passed away. Now that we know that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam, we should strive to increase ahavas chinam, to avoid lashon hara, and to run away from all machlokes.

The following story has different versions, but I will repeat it the way Reb Yisrael Salanter zy'a would tell it: Eliyahu HaNavi met with the Arizal and said, "Come with me to Yerushalayim, and we will bring Moshiach." It was an eis ratzon, and if the Arizal would have gone up to Yerushalayim with Eliyahu HaNavi, the redemption would occur. The Ari said, "I first need to tell my wife; otherwise, she will worry about me." When the Arizal returned, Eliyahu HaNavi wasn't there anymore. The opportunity was lost. Reb Yisrael Salanter said that when the Arizal left to tell his wife that he'd be going away, he knew that he may lose this opportunity. He realized that Eliyahu HaNavi may not be there when he returned. But he also understood that he mustn’t cause his wife distress under any circumstances, even if the redemption was at stake. According to other versions of this story, the Arizal told his students to come up with him to Yerushalayim to bring Moshiach. Some of the students said they first have to tell their wives that they were going. The Arizal clapped his hands in distress, and said, "The opportunity is lost. If you would all agree to come with me to Yerushalayim, we would have brought the redemption, because there wasn't a greater eis ratzon than now…"

For seventeen years, the Chidushei HaRim zt'l toiled with all his might, and prayed a lot, to acquire the attribute of a good eye, until he said that no one ever attained 'a good eye' as well as he had. A primary aspect of a good eye is to see people's good side, and to avoid seeing their faults. The Chidushei HaRim said that when he became a chassidic leader, he had to know the level of each chassid who came to him, in order to help them. This caused him immense anguish, because he was forced to see the faults of Jews. The Chidushei HaRim writes, "During these days [the Three Weeks] a person should strive to eradicate the trait of sinas chinam. This means that he should uproot any jealousy and seeing other’s faults he has on others… With a good eye the Beis HaMikdash will be rebuilt."

In 1940, Reb Shaul Yedidyah of Modzitz zt'l fled to Vilna. On Shabbos he led a tisch, and even the Litvishe people came to listen to the Rebbe's beautiful trademark singing. When the Rebbe handed out shirayim, it seemed strange to the Litvishe people present. The Rebbe said, "Don’t make fun of this custom. If people would keep this custom, this war wouldn’t have happened." The Rebbe explained, "Shirayim means that you have a plate of food before you, and you don’t keep it all for yourself. You give away to others. If people would have this approach, this war would never have to happen."

Hashem gave us the first Beis HaMikdash, and then the second, but we weren't careful with them, and they were destroyed. Hashem therefore built a third Beis HaMikdash — it is standing in heaven. From time to time — especially on Shabbos Chazon — Hashem shows us the third Beis HaMikdash, and He tells us, "When I see that you've improved your ways, I will bring this Beis HaMikdash down from heaven."

The Gemara and halachah teaches that whenever there is a separation, love increases before it (see Yevamos 62). Therefore, before the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash, the love between Hashem and the Jewish nation increased. This explains why at the time of the destruction it was called a holiday. And it explains why Shabbos Chazon is the greatest Shabbos of the year. The Ohev Yisrael concludes, "Especially when Tisha b'Av is on Shabbos."

The Chasam Sofer (Drush 7 Av, 5560) teaches, "Although in Hashem's place there is joy, and the Shechinah doesn’t reside where there's sadness, nevertheless, about Tisha b'Av it states, 'Hashem called that day, a day for crying and for mourning…' (Isaiah 22:12). Therefore it is proper for all the bitter and confused souls to cry and mourn these days when Hashem in heaven is also crying and mourning… He doesn’t perceive it, but [his soul] hears Hashem's voice, crying and mourning together with him…"

Although we always strive to be happy, Tisha b'Av is a time for crying and mourning. But beneath all the bitter crying and intense mourning there is joy, as we are crying together with Hashem. Hashem is with us, and we can speak with Him and open up our heart to Him in ways we aren't able to the entire year.

Rebbe Pinchas Koritzer zt'l (Imrei Pinchas 378, 380-381) said, "Laughing on Tisha b'Av is dangerous [as it’s a day of mourning]… Where Hashem is, that's where His angels are, with all the upper worlds [and on Tisha b'Av Hashem, with all the angels, come to the ground to mourn]… Therefore, on Tisha b'Av, when you sit on the ground, you can accomplish with your prayers all your needs before Hakadosh Baruch Hu… If you need something, a good time to request it is on Tisha b'Av, when you sit on the ground."

Reb Chaim Palagi zt'l writes, "When one mourns for the churban, all of his sins are atoned for, he merits longevity, his children won't die in his lifetime, and they will live a long life." Yet, as stated above, mourning shouldn’t be with sadness. The Chazon Ish proves this from Megilas Eichah, Yirmiyahu's prophecy. A primary condition for attaining prophecy is happiness. How did Yirmiyahu receive his prophecy when he was sad? It must be that one can hear these drastic prophecy, mourn and cry, and at the same time one can be happy.

The Brezhaner Rav zt'l said the most conducive time for prayers is in times of mourning, for these prayers are called, "The prayer of the poor" which is the highest form of prayer. It is to call Hashem from the midst of the afflictions, and then Hashem answers the prayers.

The Avodas Yisrael (Avos 3:1) writes, "Why did Hashem place the soul, a part of Hashem, into a human body, and why was the person sent to this low world, filled with temptations?" The Avodas Yisrael answers, "Hashem threw [into the world] holy sparks, so a person should gather them. This can be compared to someone who threw many precious diamonds in garbage, and commands his son to gather them and to clean them from dirt. The more gems the son gathers, and the more he cleans them, the greater will be his reward. Thus, in this world, because it's lowly, one can attain greatness. Especially during the low days of the year — Bein HaMetzarim— a person can pick up more precious stones and diamonds on these days. What a person can fix on Tisha b'Av, he can't amend even on Simchas Torah, and vice versa."

The Maggid of Mezritch zt'l teaches that during the Three Weeks one can become closer to Hashem than the rest of the year. It’s very hard to come to a king, when the king is in his palace. Only high government officials and influential people are granted an audience with king. However, when the king's in exile, everyone can approach the king and speak with him. The same is in the Three Weeks and Tisha b'Av. Keviyachol, the King isn't in his palace, and therefore it’s easier for everyone to come close to the King. The Maggid of Mezritch teaches us that whoever runs to find Hashem, will find Him during the Three Weeks of Bein Hametzarim."

Shulchan Aruch states, "Whoever mourns for Yerushalayim will merit seeing its joy" (554:25). The Kedushas Levi and other sefarim explain that this implies that when one mourns for the Beis HaMikdash he immediately experiences the joy of the redemption.

The Kedushas Levi (Eichah) writes, "When one…mourns for Yerushalayim…. he perceives a drop of the joy of Yerushalayim, of how it will be in the future."

The laws and customs observed at a wedding to remember Yerushalayim aren't a contradiction to the happiness of the marriage; they actually complement it. Because mourning brings the light of Moshiach, and that completes the joy of the wedding.

The Gemara (Gittin 58.) tells us: "An apprenticed carpenter wanted to marry his teacher's wife. Once, the carpenter needed a loan. The apprentice said, 'Send your wife to me and I will give her the money.' "She was in his home for three days. The carpenter came and asked, "Where is my wife?" The apprentice said, "I gave her the money and sent her back as soon as she arrived. But I heard that some youth accosted her on the way." "What should I do?" "I advise you to divorce her." "But her kesubah is very large, [and it will cost me a lot of money to divorce her]." "I'll lend you the money." The carpenter divorced his wife, and then the apprentice married her. When the loan was due, the carpenter couldn’t pay his debt, so the apprentice said, 'Work for me, and you will pay off your debt with your work.' The apprentice and his new wife were eating a meal together, while the carpenter was serving them. His tears dropped into their cups as he poured them drinks. That is when the decree for the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash was sealed in heaven." The Yaavatz (Reb Yaakov Emdin zt'l) states that the apprentice didn’t transgress any of the cardinal sins of the Torah. He married the carpenter's wife after she was divorced. Yet, because of this story, the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed. "From this we derive with certainty that there are sins which aren't written explicitly, yet they are extremely grave and are despised by Hashem. They are worse than cardinal sins." We must do Hashem's will, and sometimes the will isn't explicitly stated, but it is implied and understood. Someone who desires to do Hashem's will, will not do those deeds.

The Gemara (Bava Metzia 30:) teaches, "Yerushalayim was destroyed because they ruled by the laws of the Torah." The Gemara asks, "Which laws should they follow, if not for the laws of the Torah?" The Gemara responds, "The [problem was that they] followed the laws literally, and never went beyond the letter of the law [and they never took into account the spirit of the law]." Their error was that they only focused on what is explicitly prohibited or permitted. They didn’t pay attention to the many hints and implications that the Torah intends for us, though not explicitly expressed in words.

It is written, (Devarim 6:18), "you shall do the correct and the good." After receiving the 613 mitzvos, we ought to grasp the 'spirit' of the Torah. For example, there are many mitzvos which teach us the proper conduct bein adam lechaveiro We should derive from these laws the importance of peace and proper business ethics. Similarly, one should think about the other mitzvos of the Torah, and perceive through them Hashem's will. Often a person will not be able to quote an exact source to show that a deed is prohibited or to show that a certain deed is praiseworthy, but one gets the general idea of Hashem's ratzon based on what he knows from the Torah. The Ramban (Devarim 6:18) writes, "After the Torah tells us to keep all the mitzvos, the Torah requires us to do, "the straight and the good.' … This is an important principle, because it is impossible for the Torah to teach each detail of how one should deal with his friend and neighbors, how he should do business, and how to establish community laws. But after the Torah tells us many laws, such as the prohibition against speaking lashon hara, taking revenge, holding a grudge… to stand up for the elderly, and the like, the Torah tells us in general terms: everything one does should be correct and upright, according to the fundamentals of the Torah." We scrupulously keep all the mitzvos and prohibitions of the Torah, and in addition, we should ask ourselves: What does Hashem want from me? What is Hashem's will that isn't explicitly written in the Torah? Often, when we ask ourselves these questions, we discover very important ideas and guidance on how to serve Hashem.

The Gemara (Bava Metzia 44.) states, "The One who punished the generation of the Flood will punish the one who doesn’t keep his word." The Gemara is referring to someone who backs out of a deal. (The exact situation that the Gemara is referring to is someone who paid money for a product, and before he makes a kinyan [legal acquisition] changes his mind and wants to back out of the deal (and get his money back). Sometimes it is technically permitted to back out of an agreement, but it is still improper — it isn't hayashar vehatov — and therefore, the Gemara tells us, he receives the above mentioned curse.

It states in this week's parashah, (Devarim 2:7), "Hashem your G-d blesses you, with everything you do." The Yalkut Shimoni (808) on this verse teaches, "Perhaps Hashem will send you blessings even if you will sit back idly and do nothing? The verse says, 'Hashem…will bless you with everything you do.' If one does, he will receive Hashem's blessing. If one doesn’t do, he will not receive." Hashem knows your dirt and distress that you go through to get your parnassah." Earning parnassah isn't easy. There are many hardships and worries along the way. Tzaddikim explain that the solution is written at the end of this verse: "Hashem your G-d is with you." You aren't alone. Hashem is helping you. Remember that and you will be rescued from the distress and anxiety involved in earning a living.

Someone once saw hundreds of workers working in a field in pairs. One dug a hole, and his partner filled it up with earth. This person watched them in confusion. He asked one of the workers, "What purpose is there in digging holes, if they will immediately be filled with earth again?" The worker replied, "We usually work in groups of three. One digs a hole, another one plants a sapling, and a third fills it up with earth again. Those who plant the saplings didn’t show up today, so we decided that even though they aren't here, we should at least do our part." The nimshal is, there are three partners in the creation of man: the two parents and Hashem. Don’t try doing anything without the third partner present. All work is fruitless when the third and primary partner isn't there.

The Mesilas Yesharim (19) writes, "One should always feel sincere distress over the exile and the churban, because these decrease Hashem's honor. One should wait for the redemption, because in that era, Hashem's honor will be exalted." The Sma"k writes, "Just as we are obligated to believe that Hashem took us out of Egypt, so do I want you to believe that I am your G-d. I will gather you and I will save you." Thus, waiting for Moshiach is a mitzvah from the Torah, written in the Ten Commandments.

Rebbe Dovid'l of Tolna zt'l once came late to his tisch, and excused himself to his chassidim. He explained that Moshiach came to him, and that was the cause for his delay. Moshiach asked him, "Should I come now and redeem Klal Yisrael or should I wait some more until all Jews are rectified. If I come now, there will be some souls who will never be rectified." Rebbe Dovid of Tolna advised Moshiach to wait until all souls are ready. One of the chassidim present asked, "Rebbe, isn't it better that Moshiach comes now? Why should we wait for those few souls?" The Tolna Rebbe answered, "You are one of those souls that will not be rectified if Moshiach comes now."

Chessed can sometimes hurt, and at times, it can also be frightening like a lion. As the Kedushas Levi writes, "Hashem Yisbarach destroyed the Beis HaMikdash and we are in exile, but it surely is all for Klal Yisrael's benefit. Hashem will have compassion on us, He will rebuild the Beis HaMikdash, and it will be even more magnificent than it was before. That which presently appears to be negative…is actually all for Yisrael's benefit.

Doctors told the father of an ill child that he must keep his child awake (for a certain amount of time) because if the child falls asleep, he won’t ever wake up. The father removed the pillow from under his child's head, to make it uncomfortable, but the child became accustomed to that discomfort, and began dozing off. The father placed the child on the floor. After some time, the son became accustomed to lying on the uncomfortable floor as well, and was on the verge of falling asleep. The father began to hit his son. At first he hit his son lightly, and when the son became accustomed to those beatings, and was about to drift off, the father hit him harder…. The nimshal is Hashem gives us reminders so we don’t fall asleep in galus and forget our purpose in life and our connection with Hashem. If the reminders don’t disturb our sleep, the signals become harder and more pronounced. They are the sufferings, the troubles and problems people endure, so we don’t sleep eternally.

A wealthy person, riding in his wagon, offered a ride to a poor man walking along the roadside. The pauper was carrying a heavy bag, and even on the wagon didn’t put it down. The wealthy man said, "You're on the wagon now. You can put your bag down." The poor man replied, "I'm so thankful that you are taking me. Why should I ask you to carry my suitcase too? I'll carry it." The nimshal is, we are totally in His hands. What do we accomplish by worrying? That's similar to the pauper who carries his own package. Why should you do that, when you, and your packages, are being tended for by Hashem?

The Vilna Gaon zt'l said that David HaMelech described the essence of bitachon perfectly when he said, "I consider myself like a nursling who nurses from his mother…" (Tehillim 131:2). Place yourself into the mind of an infant, who is compassionately cared by their mother, and that is how you should trust in Hashem. An infant is worry-free. The baby knows that his mother will feed him and care for all his needs. Having this sensation is bitachon.

Reb Yechezkel Levinstein zt'l said that we can learn to trust in Hashem when we see how Hashem cares for all animals of the world, providing them with food and all their needs. One can therefore be certain that Hashem will provide for all human beings, especially for Jews. There's no reason to be worried.

Derech Pikudechah (from the Bnei Yissaschar zt'l 34, dibur 4) writes, "A derivative of murder is to eat and drink….without considering whether it's healthy for your body, or whether it will harm you. [This is a subdivision of murder, because the foods weaken you, and is considered a partial death — which is that you feel weak and unwell — is also a kind of murder. As Chazal say, what's the difference whether it's a total murder or a partial murder]… Also, if a person is worried and distressed when it isn't a mitzvah, that also weakens him [and is therefore an offshoot of the prohibition to murder, because in a way, he is weakening and murdering himself]..." Instead of worries, we'd be wise to follow the path of emunah and bitachon, and to live worry-free, with trust in Hashem.

The Gemara (Megillah 13:) states "Hashem doesn’t smite Yisrael until he creates the refuah [the solution] before the plague." This hints that before every suffering, there's a solution and cure, which precedes it. There’s no reason for worry, because there is a solution already in place, trust in Hashem and you will attain it.

The Midrash (Eichah Pesichta 24) states that at the time of the churban, when many Jews, rachamana litzlan, were being savagely murdered, the avos came before Hashem and prayed. "Avraham Avinu said to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, 'Ribono shel olam, you gave me a son when I was a hundred years old, and when he became wise, and was thirty-seven-years old, You told me to bring him as a sacrifice. I acted cruelly, I didn’t have compassion on him. I myself bound him. Won't you remember that merit? Won't you have compassion on my children?' "Then Yitzchak spoke and said, 'Ribono Shel Olam, when my father told me [and hinted to me that I would be sacrificed] I didn’t prevent Your words [from happening]. I willingly let myself be bound on the altar, and I stretched my throat to the sword. Won't you remember that? Won't you have compassion on my children? "Then Yaakov Avinu spoke and said, 'Ribono Shel Olam, I was in Lavan's house for twenty years, and then I met with Eisav and he wanted to kill my children. I was moser nefesh to save them. And now, their descendants are in the hands of the enemy, like sheep to the slaughter! I raised them like chicks; I suffered so much to raise them. My entire life, I worked so hard to raise them. Won't you remember all of that, and have compassion on my descendants?'" We see from this Midrash the greatness of raising children. Avraham and Yitzchak spoke about the akeidah, and Yaakov spoke about how he was moser nefesh to raise his family. Apparently, that quality is as great as the akeidah. The Nesivos Shalom zt'l repeated this Midrash to a father who was complaining that it was so difficult for him to raise money and to support his family. The Nesivos Shalom explained to him that struggling to raise a family is the greatest deed. The main thing is not to worry, do your hishtadlus, and Hashem will help that everything will work out.

Chazal (Brachos 8.) say, "From when the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, Hakadosh Baruch Hu's place is the four cubits of where Torah is studied". And the Zohar (Vayakhel 200.) states, "Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s palace (heichal) is Torah.

The Zohar states, "The Jewish nation gives parnassah to their Father in heaven." (In kabbalah this means that the Jewish nation, with their good deeds, raise the sparks of holiness that fell into the world, and return them to Hashem. Keviyachol, this is like giving parnassah to Hashem.) Rebbe Yechezkel of Kozmir zt'l (quoted in Divrei Yisrael) states, "Whoever thinks this doesn’t happen today is a fool. We are Hashem's 'store'. In the past, the store was large, and the storekeeper was wealthy, and Hashem had parnassah in abundance. But also today, we give parnassah to Hashem. For otherwise, where does Hashem get His parnassah; from the descendants of Yishmael and Esav? We give Hashem parnassah even today, only it's less than it used to be. But we are giving parnassah today as well, for Heaven measures according to the level of the neshamah, the difficulty of the galus, and the hardships involved."

The Sifsei Tzaddik (Balak 46) states: Notice that in exile, the Jewish nation is called Yisrael, while when the Beis HaMikdash stands they are called Yaakov. It is known that Yisrael represents a higher level than Yaakov. We are called Yisrael when we are in exile. This implies that, in a way, they are on a higher level in exile. Every good deed is spectacular, as Hashem takes into account the hardships of the exile, and the struggles we go through to serve Him, and also because there are less good deeds in the world. Consequently, it’s easier to ascend to the level of Israel in exile.

The Chofetz Chaim zt'l asked a baker about his parnassah. He replied, "It's very hard. People are never satisfied. They say the bread isn't fresh, or that the oven wasn't hot enough, and so on." During World War I, the Chofetz Chaim met the baker again, and asked him once again about his parnassah. This time he replied, "Everything is wonderful. There’s a shortage now, so everyone pays high prices for bread, and no one complains that the bread should taste better…" When someone came to the Chofetz Chaim, heartbroken about his low spiritual level, the Chofetz Chaim told him about the baker, and added, "Right now there's a shortage in heaven. There isn't enough Torah and mitzvos. Every good deed, and every tefillah, is welcomed and cherished in heaven…" Similarly, the Chofetz Chaim once said, "I remember years back when everyone was wealthy. Even if someone saw a silver coin on the ground he wouldn’t pick it up, as there was no need; there were so many. Today, if someone sees a copper coin on the ground, he'll pick it up. Everyone's poor, so even a copper coin is precious." The person listening to the Chofetz Chaim didn’t understand why the Chofetz Chaim was telling him this, but then the Chofetz Chaim explained his lesson: "There was a time when there was a Beis HaMikdash and keviyachol, there was immense wealth in heaven. A simple service wasn't so magnificent in those days. But today, there isn't a Beis HaMikdash, and there are also few people serving Hashem. Today, even when a bachur prays a simple Maariv it’s very precious and special in Heaven."

After telling the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza, the Gemara (Gittin 57.) concludes, "Come and see the how great shame is! [Because Bar Kamtza was shamed] Hakadosh Baruch Hu helped Bar Kamtza, and He destroyed His house, and burned His heichal.” Bar Kamtza was humiliated when he wasn't permitted to remain at someone's event. Because of that shame, he took revenge and Hashem enabled him to succeed because he was shamed. We must therefore be extremely cautious not to shame anyone. In addition, if someone shames you, forgive him. Because after seeing the great power one has when he’s shamed, we can certainly understand the amazingly high levels one reaches when he’s being humiliated and he doesn’t answer back.

Chazal (Sanhedrin 14.) say, "When a person is appointed to greatness, all of his sins are forgiven." Rebbe Yissachar Dov of Belz zt'l said that his sins are atoned because of all the shame he will endure in his new position of greatness. For when one rises to a prestigious position everyone speaks lashon hara on him, and they ask, "Why does he deserve that position?" That shame atones for his sins. One might say, "Why do I need all this shame and humiliation? I am better off not taking the job." Rebbe Yissachar Dov advises him to learn from the earth, which people step on and degrade, but it continues producing fruits, vegetables. One should do the same. If you are fitting for the position, and you can help people, accept it even though people will humiliate you. This is hinted at in (Avos 2:2) by the words, it is good to teach Torah, even if people will humiliate you. Learn from the way the earth gives goodness, although it's constantly humiliated.

Rebbe Moshe of Kobrin zt'l taught, "The foundation of bitachon is to believe that everything is from Hashem, Who is good to all… And when a person doesn’t understand why things must be the way they are, at those times the good is even greater."

The Chasam Sofer teaches that mourning builds the Beis HaMikdash. The third Beis HaMikdash is being built with the mourning and the tears of the Jewish nation. For two thousand years we mourn and cry over the Beis HaMikdash, and Hakadosh Baruch Hu is gathering those tears and mourning, and with them He builds the third Beis HaMikdash in heaven, brick by brick, stone by stone. When it's complete, it will come down from heaven. As it states (Tehillim 147): "Hashem builds Yerushalayim." It's written in present tense, because Hashem is building it continuously, with our mourning.


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