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Weekly Chizuk

TISHA B'AV

THE LAST BATTLEFRONT

(Adapted from audio lectures by Rav Ezriel Tauber)

We are now at the end of 2500 years of Jewish history. If we look at the look at the stream of world History we see something remarkable about our time. For 2500 years Jews have been hunted and chased by the goyim:

First Nebuchadnezer and the Babylonians destroyed the Beis Hamikdash. But now they're gone.

Then Achashverosh and Haman tried to destroy us. They're gone.

Then, at the time of Chanuka the Greeks persecuted us and tried to annihilate our religion; they're gone.

Then came Rome. Anyone who leaned Torah was brutally tortured and martyred like Rebbi Akiva. They're also gone.

Then we were persecuted by the Christians. We suffered through the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition; the Christians tried their utmost to force us to give up our belief.

Then it was Russia and the Communists. Up until 20 years ago if you learned Torah or practiced Mitzvos, you disappeared into the KGB buildings or were sent off to Siberia. Suddenly, the Iron Curtain blew away like a curtain of straw.

For 2500 years goyim persecuted us, killed us, and hunted us, all to make sure we don't keep Torah and Mitzvos. That's history.

Up until a hundred years ago in Poland, if a person passed by a Church and did something disrespectful to a statue of J, he was burnt alive. Today you can go on the internet and make fun of J and religion, the biggest mockery, and you win the Nobel Prize. You can belittle them, make fun of them, totally and openly express yourself, and no one will say a word.

Suddenly, after 2500 years, you can practice Judaism openly. Even in Russia Anti-Semitism is officially outlawed. There are yeshivos opening up all over.

What happened? Something unbelievable happened in our generation and we don't pay attention to it. What does Hashem want? Take a look around. On one hand there are Baale Teshuva all over the world. In every country, in every community, in every family. There isn't a non-religious family that doesn't have one Baal Teshuva. Never has there been such a phenomenon in history. The most assimilated family has some member who became a BT.

And on the other hand, there are so many good families, nice homes, with decent kids, and yet the kids are falling away, into the internet, into the street, into the garbage. And this is happening for no logical reason. When communism was popular, it promised equality, humanity; it was a light to the world. It had grand social dreams, and so unfortunately we lost a lot of youth to its glitter. They fell for it. But now all the ism's are bankrupt. There's no idealism left.

Rome - gone

Christians - gone

Stalin - gone

Fascism - gone

Today we are being threatened by a new world order.

The Nisayon of the Generation Changed

Over 20 years ago Rav Shach, zt"l, said that right after World War II the nisayon of the generation changed. Before the War the Jewish Nation was being challenged by the Enlightenment, the Haskalah. Many brilliant bnei Torah were swept away by its powerful currents and were captured by its glamour. After the war all this apikorsus suddenly became forgotten. That wasn't what bothered people anymore. It lost its attraction. No one even remembers the names of the movements or the leaders. Today we are being bombarded by affluence. In Eretz Yisroel and in America there is an overabundance of materialism. This, said Rav Shach, is the nisayon of our generation. We have to overcome and not be pulled down by base materialism.

Today the whole world has become basically democratic. You can practice Judaism openly almost everywhere. But at the same time society is sinking into moral turpitude and depravity. What's going on here?

Rashi and Tosfos (Succah 41a) write that that the third Beis Hamidkash will fall from Heaven completely built. Whereas the Rambam (Melachim 11:1,4) maintains that Moshiach will build the Holy Temple. How do we reconcile these diverse opinions? Moreover, how can we understand Rashi's opinion? How can we be yotzei with a Beis Hamikdash of fire? There are halachos about how to build the Beis Hamikdash. Would you be yotzei with Tefillin that fell from shomayim? They have to be made of real leather with the right Kavanos. The Beis Hamikdash has similar laws. How can we be Yotzei with a Heavenly sent Beis Hamikdash?

The Ramchal, in Mishknei Elyon writes that the 3rd Beit HaMikdash will descend spiritually from heaven at the appointed time, and then we will build the physical structure over it.

Where is this spiritual structure being erected? Rav Moshe Cordevero answers that really we ourselves are building the Beis Hamikdash. Everyone who builds a Jewish Home and brings Hakadosh Baruch Hu into his life is laying another building block onto the Beis Hamikdash. We build it brick by brick until it's finished in Shomayaim built of Heavenly fire and when we're ready Hashem will bring it down.

[Rav Osher Weiss writes that the Sanzer Rebbe (Divrei Chaim) was once in conducting a tisch with his chassidim when he suddenly looked up and announced "I see that the Beis Hamikdash is fully built in heaven and ready to come down - it is just missing a paroches (special curtain)." One of his chassidim shouted out "why don't you build the paroches Rebbe?" The Rebbe's response gives us an insight into effects of our mitzvos... With fire in his eyes he declared, "I did build the paroches," said the Rebbe, "it's just that some rasha came and removed it with his aveiros."]

This concept is very difficult for us in our generation to understand. If Klal Yisroel are building the Beis Hamkidash, how can we expect it to come in our times. Previously the Yidden were much higher spiritually. There were Gedolim and Tzaddikim, and they couldn't bring down the Beis Hamikdash. So in our lowly generation when we have so few Gedolim and Tzaddikim, and unfortunately they aren't as great as previous times, how can we be expected to build it?

We can understand with a moshol. It says in Tehillim . "The stone that the builders despised became the pinnacle of the corner." There was once a King. He said to his populace, "I want you to build my palace; I want a coronation." He gave them exactly enough bricks and they got to work. The bricklayer accidently got a problematic stone. What did he do? He put it aside and used a better one. The next bricklayer picks it up too; but he can't use it, either. So he puts it down. Why bother with it? There are so many good bricks.

Finally the palace is all finished and they're just putting the finishing touches on; some masonry work and designs and decorative trimmings on the towers at the corners of the palace. What's a tower? A tower is the highest point of a building. Everyone sees it, so it publicizes that this is the palace of the king. A tower has to be the epitome of royalty. Now when the workers got to the finishing touches they ran out of stones. They had been given an exact number and every stone was accounted for. Finally this stone which had been waiting so long and was discarded over and over again, gets its turn. They have to pick it up, brush it off, and where does it go? , on the pinnacle of the tower!

We are all stones in the future Beis Hamikdash which we hope will be built speedily in our days. Every Jew has his role in the palace of the king. Every Jew is accounted for; there is not one extra Jew. The stones that the builders despised will eventually become the pinnacle of the palace. Our lowly neshamos have been kicked around and thrown away for generations; but for how long? Now we're at the end; the final trimmings, the top of the tower has to be built and they have to put us into the edifice.

And our place is not just another brick in the building. Our place is at the top of the tower. Our generation has been chosen to announce to the world that Hashem is King. Why us? Why not the great tzaddikim of the past?

The reason is that Rabbi Akiva Eiger can't pick up the kids from Times Square. He never grew up in Times Square. He can't relate to it, and the people there can't relate to him. But a kid who grew up in Times Square says to his friends, look at me, join me.

For 2500 years the Goyim didn't let us build the Beis Hamikdash. They were petrified, because they knew that once it was built it's over for them. Moshiach is here. What was bothering the Goyim? What did the Russian shikkur care if we kept Torah and Mitzvos or not. What did the Spanish Inquisition care if the Jews kept the Torah? They were petrified, because deep down the goyim know the truth. When Moshiach comes and builds the Beis Hamikdash it's over for them. So for 2500 years they worked very hard to make sure the Jews don't do it.

Today everyone feels in their bones that the Beis Hamikadsh is already built. And it is. It was built long ago. It's built and sitting in Shomayim waiting to come down. What's holding it up?

Let's understand. Why did it take 480 years after the Exodus from Mitzrayim to build the Beis Hamikdash? Why couldn't they build it right away? Why did they have to wait for Shlomo Hamelech? The reason is that you don't build a Beis Hamikdash on a garbage dump; and the worst place in the world was Eretz Canaan. It was worse than Mitzrayim. If Eretz Mitzrayim was the Nakedness of the World, then Eretz Canaan was the pits. We had to wait for Dovid Hamelech to come and clean up Eretz Yisroel. Only then was it ready to be built.

What's happening today? What are the goyim planning? They know that it won't help to stop us from building the Beis Hamikdash; it's built already. So they have a new technique. Go, learn Torah, and practice mitzvos. We are democratic. We live in a free country. Do whatever you want. But they know you can't build the Beis Hamikdash on a junkyard, so they're turning the whole world into one big garbage dump. The whole world is going to be an Eretz Canaan.

: The whole world has become one language and one mindset. The internet has joined everyone together and all it spews is the worst filth and corruption, violence and sex; the entire world is filled with Eretz Canaan. All the goyim who previously fought the Beis Hamikdash have givien up on that; but they'll make sure it doesn't get built: Filth. Not a clean inch in the world. Nowhere to bring Moshiach.

Our job in our generation is to become Avraham Avinu. Avraham didn't build; only Yitchok started building the ruchnius edifice. Avraham's job was to clean the world and prepare it for Yitzchak and Yaakov.

Today there are no longer any gezeiros of sh'mad; instead they're filling up the world with filth.

Our job is to build our bricks, clean ourselves up, and create wholesome Jewish families and communities. In that way we, as low as we are, we will become the bricks at the top of the Beis Hamikdash announcing to the world Hashem is king!

Gut Shabbos!

________________________________________
Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff

Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff

Rosh Yeshiva

Yeshiva Gedolah Medrash Chaim

Rabbi Parkoff is author of "Chizuk!" and "Trust Me!" (Feldheim Publishers), and "Mission Possible!" (Israel Book Shop ? Lakewood). You can access Rav Parkoff's Chizuk Sheets online:

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