This is taking us back a little bit, to the weeks around Tisha B’Av… but the message is an important one. Thanks to Rabbi Moshe Bryski for this wonderful insight.The other day I was at the gym and a friend proceeded to tell me about all the heartbreak going on in his life. People around him were passing away and all in a very short time. Sadly, this kind of story or one like it seems to be the norm these days. I know many friends and family members who are suffering, with personal illness, or deep, personal losses of their own. I myself feel sadness and stress in my own life that seems to be at levels I cannot ever recall. Is it simply part of getting older and having more years behind me, or something else?
The world seems to be… well… different. While the debate as to why this is happening can go in many directions, let us just agree for this post that things definitely seem to be at odds. From my own perspective, depression and unhappiness seems to be pervasive. Again, am I noticing it more because of my age and time on earth? Or is it just that much stronger and all around me?
A short while ago we marked Tisha B’Av. While there is much destruction and sadness that surrounds this day, the Sages tell us that Moshiach was born on Tisha B’Av. So out of destruction comes hope and saving. While perhaps what is going on in the world today is not “Biblical,” there is great sorrow and destruction all around us… some of it from nature, like the horrific wildfires raging through California, and some of it caused by man… war and bloodshed.
While the origins of the phrase, “This too shall pass” may be debated… Persian… Jewish… the sentiment and the idea behind it are powerful and universal. Have faith, hang tight and tough, for all of this will pass. Things WILL get better!After Tisha B’Av, we celebrated a very special Shabbos, and this is what Rabbi Bryski shared: “Shabbos Nachamu, the Shabbos of comfort. The name is taken from this week’s Haftorah which begins with Isaiah’s prophecy: “Take comfort, take comfort, My people.” After commemorating the tragedy of the Temple’s destruction on Tisha B’Av, our Sages instituted a series of seven prophetic readings that change our focus.
These readings promise that Israel will be comforted with the coming of the Redemption. Exile and destruction are just phases – the beginning of a process, not its end. In that vein, our Sages tell us that Moshiach was born on Tisha B’Av. Whatever the simple meaning of that statement, its intent is that every year, Tisha B’Av generates a renewed impetus for Redemption. Concealed beneath the destruction and exile is G-d’s desire to bring Moshiach, and to elevate both Israel and the world to a state of ultimate fulfillment.
At no point in our nation’s history has the redemptive aspect of Tisha B’Av been as relevant as it is today; for we are at the threshold of the Redemption and, indeed, in the process of crossing that threshold. May we merit the completion of this process and the coming of the era when we will no longer know sorrow, and instead share in the joy of Redemption with the coming of Moshiach.”In a way, a very real and practical way, every Shabbos has the ability to rejuvenate and inspire us… to heal us and to give us strength… to release sorrow and bring only joy. What a powerful notion to look at each and every Shabbos this way. Many do, many more need to… including myself. Then again, thanks to Hashem, every single day is Holy and can do the same. We just to recognize this… to know when we are being tested… to know that Hashem is giving us tests to help us grow and move closer to Him. To recognize and embrace the things we may not understand, including the unknown. Every day give us an opportunity for joy and growth, happiness and holiness.
“Every descent is for the purpose of ascent, every challenge is for the purpose of growth.”
– Robert Kremnizer