Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Three Weeks

Sadness, anger, worry, frustration – which committed Jew did not feel these reactions surge within as we listened to today’s events? Their arrival on the doorstep of the Three Weeks added an unsettling dimension to our inner turmoil. At least they prepared us for the mood of our season of national mourning, we reasoned.

Maybe not.

The true meaning of aveilus (mourning) for the Temple is that we not feel resigned to it…that Jews not accept for a moment that the Beis Hamikdosh lies in ruins, that they constantly conjure up memories of it and long for its rebuilding…The greatest tragedy is that a Jew can come to accept that it is possible to live without the Beis Hamikdosh. (Nesivos Shalom, pg. 190, loose translation)

The Slonimer Rebbe, it seems to me, subtly changes the context of national mourning. Primarily, it is not a mood of loss and desperation, although such feelings certainly find their way into our mourning experience. Rather, at the root of our aveilus is an intense belief in the way things ought to be, and so much pride about who we are that we simply cannot accept anything less. It does not arise from the loss of national nerve, but from the intensity of its focus, and the certainty of its spiritual goals and principles. Without them, life is not life.

As we pour our hearts out to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, let us also ask Him to help our brothers in uniform on the front lines of Gaza and Lebanon to feel that focus and intensity, so that they fight not only for the survival of their families and nation, but for the principles that differentiate Israel’s true calling from the worship of evil of her enemies. At the same time, may all of us – the soldiers of Tzahal and we who daven for them – also cry out for the Shechinah that has departed the Temple to find room in our own hearts, so that it may manifest itself as the most potent weapon in the Jewish arsenal.

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6 Responses

  1. A Stein says:

    We who daven for Tzahal? Why do you daven in a shul that doesnt say the tefillah for the medinah and misheberach for tzahal if you are so tzioni!?

  2. Micha says:

    Is the Nesivos Shalom changing the context? Or is he just reminding us that the root of the word “aveilus” (mourning) means “but”?

  3. HILLEL says:

    Here is a guest comment from Rabbi Lazer Brody that should make us all stop and think:


    July 13, 2006
    Zero Hour
    The casualty lists are on the rise – as of this writing (6:30 PM, Israel), there are civilian casualties of 2 dead and 90 wounded. The center of Zfat has been hit. Over 85 deadly Katyushas have rained on the North of Hashem’s Holy Land. What’s going on?

    Government highbrows are calling for more committees of investigation about the IDF’s repeated setbacks. Barely days after the Hamas penetrated our southern border capturing Gilad Shalit, the Hizbolla yesterday breached the northern border and captured Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, may Hashem protect them. Everything went wrong – the border fence electronic surveillance failed, and the IDF fell into a carefully planned Hizbolla ambush. Who’s behind this ?

    Hashem is; we don’t need the silly commissions of inquiry. Hashem wants tshuva – now.

    King David said that if Hashem doesn’t guard a city, then the guards are wasting their time. In recent weeks, I’ve been yelling at the top of my throat about Tshuva and Kedusha, spending days and nights fighting against Impurade. Few want to listen. Ben Goldin warned me that few would listen. Others made a mockery of the Melitzer Rebbe’s warnings – when there’s a breach of holiness in the camp, the Schina (Divine presence) leaves. When the Schina leaves, the borders are vulnerable to Hamas and Hizbolla.

    This is Zero Hour – Iran is behind both Hamas and Hizbolla. This is not a border skirmish, but the opening of a campaign to destroy Israel; this is war aginst Iran.

    Israel’s biggest threat though, is from the inside. When a government sanctions public debauchery, soldiers and civilians pay the price.

    The Melitzer said that each of us now must try to be a little bit better in our service of Hashem in order to invoke Divine compassion.

    I call for the Government to make a public commitment to Hashem, and to ban the GayParade from anywhere within Israel’s borders. Olmert and Peretz, both inexperienced and unknowledgable, especially need Hashem’s help at this trying time. I also call for the government to place all trust in Hashem, and remove all trust from others, such as Rice and Bush.

    Let us pray to Hashem for guidance, and let the government take Israel’s sword out of its sheath.

    July 13, 2006 in Geula and redemption | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    There is a wonderful new book of RYBS;s shiurim on Tisha Bav and Kinos that I highly recommend for anyone searching for an enhancement of his or her Tisha Bav. It was edited by R D JJ Schachter, but is a series of transcriptions of tapes of various shiurim on these issues in the first person. One will find fascinating tidbits on RYBS’s stances re Yom HaShoah ( against) and many other issues.

  5. Baruch Horowitz says:

    \”It does not arise from the loss of national nerve, but from the intensity of its focus, and the certainty of its spiritual goals and principles\”

    That could be why Chazal connect mourning for the Beis Hamikdash with meriting the redemption. It may also explain why we recite kinnus/piyutim during Yom Kippur Mussaf for the Harugei Malchus and the length of the exile—-Yom Kippur is one of the ultimate national days on the Jewish calendar. It would also explain Rav Yaakov Emden’s statement about the reason of the length of the Golus, and the story of Napoleon witnessing Jews mourning on Tisha B’av.

    The feelings mentioned at the beginning of the post describe mine as well. I was young during the Lebanese war, so this is a first-time experience for me.

    It is important not to take for granted the veto which United States exercises in the United Nations. While the United States, like any nation, acts first and foremost in its own interest, its friendship and aid to Israel is the way in which Hashem protects it. President Bush, to his credit, issued a strong statement of support today.

    One also sees the Jewish nation’s eternal experience of loneliness at play. I had difficulty maintain my sanity in the wake of the assassination of Sheikh Yassin, responsible for murder of Jews, when hearing the comments of one Western European leader calling the assassination “ unacceptable[and] unjustified”. The U.N. statement condemned the “tragic assassination… and *murder* of political leadership”


    There were also condemnations today. It is true that these nations may be merely making posturing statements pandering to the Arab populace, but one doesn’t see any compassion from them. While I try to maintain a nuanced view towards the umos haolam, at such times, it is hard for me not to wonder if Hashem has a special place reserved above for such brave leaders and their governments.

  6. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “We who daven for Tzahal? Why do you daven in a shul that doesnt say the tefillah for the medinah and misheberach for tzahal if you are so tzioni!?”

    IMO, now is not the time for such debates. There will be plenty of time, b’ezras Hashem, after things quiet down, to renew these perpetual discussions.

    I will just say now, that I also daven in a Schul which doesn’t say a Mi Sheberach for Tzahal, however, for the past few years, it has been saying, daily, extra Tehilim and “Acheinu”. This doesn’t make me any less concerned for Israel.

    At the Siyum Hashas, tehilim was said in the traditional manner, for “the brave soldiers protecting the Am hayoshev b’Tzion”. I understand that mentioning Tzahal explicitly in a mishaberech may be more demonstrative, and I personally, have no problem saying the Tefilah in that particular form.

    I think that this would be an example of a religious application of the principle of “substance over form”.

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