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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 10 Apr 2020 05:41 PM and ends Sat 11 Apr 2020 06:40 PM

Bein HaMetzarim - Shiva Asar b’Tamuz

ג' אב ה' אלפים תשס"ז

On the passuk in Megillat Eichah, ?Kol rodfeiha hisiguha bein hametzarim, All her pursuers overtook her between the straits? (1:3), Chazal explain that the period referred to is the three weeks between the 17th of Tamuz and the 9th of Av. During these three weeks, anyone who pursues us will overtake us. We will attempt, in the course of things, to explain why it is this particular time period during which our pursuers can overtake us.

The gemara in Rosh HaShana (18b) says in the name of R? Akiva that the ?tzom harevi?i, the fast of the fourth month? (Zechariah 8:19) refers to the 9th of Tamuz, when the walls of Yerushalayim were breached, as the passuk in Yirmiyah says, ?Bachodesh harevi?i b?tisha lachodesh?vatibaka ha?ir, On the ninth day of the fourth month [Tamuz], the city was breached? (52:6-7). How can the passuk say that the city was breached on the 9th of Tamuz, when we know that the city was breached only on the 17th of Tamuz?! Tosfot points out that in the Yerushalmi?s version of this beraita, R? Akiva says the tzom harevi?i in fact refers to the 17th of Tamuz, even though the passuk says the walls were breached on the 9th of Tamuz, explaining that the passuk recorded an incorrect date because of the tremendous panic and confusion. Can we really say that the information provided by a passuk, transmitted through nevuah, is incorrect?!

Moreover, the mishnah in Taanit (4:6) says that five tragedies took place on the 17th of Tamuz: the luchot were broken, the korban tamid was halted, Yerushalayim was breached, Apastemos burned the Torah, and he placed an idol in the Beit HaMikdash. The question that must be asked, however, is why we must mourn over the breach of Yerushalayim separately from our mourning over the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, which occurred and for which we mourn three weeks later!

The explanation is as follows: All of the tragedies that took place on the 17th of Tamuz were essentially the beginning of the churban. The tragedies that befell us on the 9th of Av?the g?zeirah that the dor hamidbar would not enter Eretz Yisrael, churban Bayit Rishon, churban Bayit Sheini, the destruction of the great city of Beitar, and the plowing of Yerushalayim?were the end of the churban. On the 17th of Tamuz, the first tragedy to occur was the shvirat haluchot. However, although they were broken as punishment for the Cheit HaEigel, HaKadosh Baruch Hu was still willing to forgive our sin. Even though we had sinned, we still had ratzon, ambition, enabling us to gather the pieces back together and repair the damage caused by the sin. However, on the 9th of Av, the first tragedy to occur was that Am Yisrael did not desire to enter Eretz Yisrael. Eretz Yisrael is called eretz chemdah, a land in which we can realize all of our desires and aspirations; however, when you have no interest in such a land, you are revealing a lack of motivation and aspirations. By rejecting Eretz Yisrael, the nation was basically saying they had no ratzon. Hashem does not forgive a lack of motivation. The 17th of Tamuz was only the beginning of the churban ? we still had ratzon and therefore there was still hope. The 9th of Av was the end of the churban ? by then we had lost our ratzon, and therefore lost all hope as well.

Chazal teach further that the land was created similar to the way Man was created. Therefore the land has ?eyes,? as in ?ein ha?aretz, the eye of the land.? And for this reason the land has a ?mouth? as well. The mouth of the land is the Beit HaMikdash, because just as we eat with our mouths, so does Hashem eat, kivyachol, the korbanot, which are called His bread, as in ?korbani lachmi.? The land also has a ?nose,? as the korbanot are also l?rei?ach nicho?ach, as Hashem, kivyachol, eats and takes in the aroma of the makom haMikdash. Because the Beit HaMikdash is the mouth of the land, this is where proper dibbur is found, as it says, ?Ki miTzion teitzei Torah udvar Hashem mi?Yerushalayim, For from Zion shall go forth Torah, and the Word of Hashem from Jerusalem? (Michah 4:2). What divides between the proper dibbur that emanates from Yerushalayim and the other types of dibbur that emerges from other places is the wall of Yerushalayim. Within the walls is found the mouth, kivyachol, of HaKadosh Baruch Hu. That is where the korbanot are eaten, and that is where proper speech is found. The moment the city walls were breached, nevuah stopped. Any nevi?im who continued to prophesize were only able to do so because they had before the walls were breached as well. No new nevi?im arose because the moment the city walls were breached, there arose confusion between proper dibbur and all other forms of dibbur. HaKadosh Baruch Hu chose to express this tremendous confusion of dibbur for all generations by deliberately writing a passuk stating incorrectly that Yerushalayim was breached on the 9th of Tamuz, when really it was breached on the 17th of Tamuz. This is the reason we mourn the b reach of Yerushalayim?s walls ? because there was no longer any distinction between the commoner?s dibbur and that of the nevi?im, and this bilbul marked the beginning of the churban.

It is incumbent upon us now, more than ever, to take advantage of these days to strengthen and intensify our proper dibbur. We must work on our dibbur bein adam lachaveiro, speaking properly to one another, and on our dibbur bein adam laMakom, toiling in the words of Torah, because from the day the Mikdash was destroyed, ?Ein laKadosh Baruch Hu b?olamo ela dalet amot shel halachah.? This is the dibbur of truth, the dibbur that gives life, and during these days, as we mourn the sinat chinam that brought about the churban, if we increase dibburim of ahavat chinam, we will merit to see the fulfillment of the words of the navi, ?Tzom harevi?i v?tzom hachamishi v?tzom hashevi?i v?tzom ha?asiri yih?yeh l?veit Yehudah l?sasson ulsimcha, The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth month, the fast of the seventh month, and the fast of the tenth month, will be for the house of Judah joy and happiness? (Zechariah 8:19).

Shabbat Shalom!
Meir Goldwicht

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