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Shabbos Chazon - Tish'ah B'Av Thoughts

"A song of Asaph; O G-d, nations have come into your inheritance; your Holy Temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps" (Tehillim 79:1).

King Dovid incorporated into his book of Psalms the psalm of Asaph which speaks about the destruction of the Holy Temple. It seems strange, though, that such a sad piece begins with the introduction "A song of Asaph." Certainly it would have been much more appropriate had it said "A lamentation of Asaph."

Rashi records the words of the Sages who explain that Asaph saw the good side to the destruction of the Temple. Jews at the time were very wicked and deserved to be annihilated, G-d forbid. However, Hashem, in His kindness, poured out His wrath upon sticks and stones, and destroyed the Beis Hamikdash, rather than His beloved children.

This healthy attitude has kept the Jewish People alive throughout 2,000 years of bitter exile. Whether reflecting upon the calamities which befall the entire Nation as a whole or the individual Jew, the unchallengeable belief that "everything Hashem does is for the best" gives us the strength and encouragement to go on.

The following story, in Rabbi Zilberstein's newest book, Borechi Nafshi on Shemos, is an example.

There was a Rabbi in Europe who served his townspeople for many years. Suddenly, because of no fault of his own, a group of people began to resent him. They actively campaigned against him until they succeeded to get a large group to demand his resignation.

The devastated Rabbi went to pour out his heart before the Chofetz Chaim ztvk"l who merely replied, "You are right and they are wrong. However, nothing can be done and you must believe that everything Hashem does is for the best." The Rabbi cried and lamented but the Chofetz Chaim just kept repeating those words of encouragement that something good is bound to come out of this eventually. At the time, though, the Rabbi could only believe the words but not really feel them.

The Rabbi had no choice but to pack his bags and leave with his family, in search of another town where he would be accepted as their Rov. Eventually, he found such a place and settled down.

Now this Rabbi was of Lithuanian descent and found a town with a Lithuanian community which he could serve. Although he was a charismatic person who could influence others, two of his own sons had been disenchanted with religion and had left the fold. This caused the Rabbi and his wife tremendous pain and they tried very hard to return their children to religion but were not successful.

In this new town, though, there was also a community of Chassidim, and this different lifestyle proved attractive to those two sons. They visited the other part of town to check it out and the Chassidim accepted them warmly. The boys enjoyed the happy atmosphere and before long announced to their elated parents that they were returning to the world of Torah.

Now the Rabbi realized that the Chofetz Chaim had been right. It was certainly worth the aggravation and all of the bother to move to another town if, in return, he received his two sons back again. In retrospect he realized that rather than cry, at the time, he really should have sung a song of joy.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel