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AUGUST 12-13, 2005 8 AB 5765

The fast of Tish'ah B'Ab begins on Saturday night, August 13 and ends on Sunday night, August 14.

Pop Quiz: With which nations were Bnei Yisrael not permitted to wage war?


"Arise, cry out in the night at the beginning of watches, pour out your heart before Hashem like water" (Eichah 2:19)

The prophet Yirmiyahu writes in Eichah that we should cry about the destruction into the night. Our prophet and Sages tell us that there is a constant lamenting in the heavens over the holy Temple's destruction and the Jewish people's expulsion into exile. Why do Hashem and the angels cry constantly over the destruction more than we do? Why do they feel the pain of the destruction and the exile more than we do? The Dubno Maggid gives an allegory to explain this matter.

Once there was a very wealthy man, who had a foolish son with wild friends. The son spent his father's money without any regard for the value of the money. The father was worried about how his son would manage after he passes away. He might spend all the money at once and have nothing left. The father decided to build his son a beautiful home with the most expensive furnishings. He commanded his workers to build hidden storage areas to put the rest of the wealth. This way, after the son would use up all that he had, he would discover the stored treasures and learn his lesson to be more careful. After a short time calamity struck and the house burned down, with all the furniture and even all the stored treasures. Everyone who passed by cried in shock over the devastation. However, each one cried differently. Those who saw only the external beauty of the house cried over the loss of the splendid building. The son cried over the building and the inner furnishings, the jewelry and the fine vessels. But, those who cried the most bitterly were the father and his confidants. They knew about the tremendous fortune that went up in smoke.

Similarly, those crying over the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash feel different degrees of loss. The Gentiles who only knew about the external splendor of the building felt shock over the loss of a magnificent palace. The Jews knew about the inner beauty of precious service vessels it contained. They also knew that the Temple was the hub of Torah wisdom. They cried about this great loss. However, the angels, to whom Hashem revealed the secrets of the power of the Temple cried more than the Jews, and Hashem, so to speak, cries more than anyone because of the secrets that only He knows.

One might wonder, why doesn't Hashem answer the angels' cries? The answer is that our crying is the main one and the angels' cries are only accompaniment to ours. Therefore, the prayers of the angels have no place until we pray first. May Hashem answer our heartfelt prayers soon, Amen. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah


"You complained in your tents and you said, 'Because Hashem hated us he took us out of Egypt to hand us over to the Emorites to destroy us" (Debarim 1:27)

Rashi comments that Hashem really loved the Israelites, but because they felt hatred towards Him, they mistakenly felt that He hated them. This is what people say, writes Rashi, "What you feel about someone else you assume he feels about you."

There is a strong tendency for people to project their own feelings towards others onto those people. If you constantly think that other people should not be trusted, it could show that you feel that others should not really trust you. If you always think that everyone will disapprove of you, it shows that you do not approve of others or that you do not approve of yourself. Conversely, if you feel love and compassion for others, you will assume that others feel positive about you. Unless you are a person who is totally out of touch with how others react, this will have positive effects on others. When they see that you smile when greeting them and show signs that you care about them (which is how you will react because of your assumption that they feel positive about you), they will increase their positive feelings towards you. Therefore, you gain both in increasing your own positive inner feelings and also by the practical benefits of influencing people to be more positive towards you. (Growth through Torah)


This week's Haftarah: Yirmiyahu 1:1 - 2:3.

Every haftarah until this week has been related to the perashah in some way. However, after the destruction of the second Bet Hamikdash, the Rabbis decreed that during the three weeks between Shib'ah Asar B'Tamuz and Tish'ah B'ab, special haftarot would be read. These haftarot detail the punishments that B'nei Yisrael would receive for their sins. Each haftarah, though, ends on a positive note with Hashem giving his guarantee that he will eventually redeem us. This week, Hashem declares that Israel is sacred to Him, and he will bring retribution to the nations that afflict Israel.

Answer to Pop Quiz: Seir (Esav), Moab and Amon.

A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.

Call to 646-279-8712 or email (Privacy of email limited by the email address)

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