4 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 22, 2020 | Torah Reading: Noach
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Waiting For The Redemption

When the Temple was destroyed, we didn't just lose a magnificent building, we lost a spiritual connection to the Almighty, a closeness that we can only yearn...


Rebbe Nachman said that there is no such thing as despair!
But in today's troubled times, how can we help but feel despair. The Jews of Eretz Yisrael are at war, fighting for their (our) very survival. Dozens of our finest young men and women are dying. Civilians are at the forefront of the battle as thousands of missile rain down on major cities.
Just a few weeks ago the Jews of Eretz Yisrael were living under an illusion of peace and prosperity. Terrorism was down, the economy was up, and the shekel was stable. What happened? 
It can be summed up in one word – Galut, exile!
When the Temple was destroyed, we didn't just lose a magnificent building, we lost a spiritual connection to the Almighty, a closeness that we can only yearn to attain once more. God's presence could be felt in every stone, in every corner. It was tangible and real. It is impossible for us to even begin to understand the enormity of that loss.
The vivid descriptions of mothers eating their children and maidens swooning on the streets of Jerusalem that we read in Megillat Eicha are mirrored in the endless tragedies that our nation has experienced throughout the ages, and continues to experience to this very day. The crusades, the expulsions, the pogroms, the holocaust, they are all a continuation of that original destruction, aspects of Hashem's concealment that began with the Temple's destruction.
All who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit to rejoice in its rebuilding.
The story is told of Napoleon walking through the streets of Paris. As he passed by a synagogue, he heard the sound of people weeping inside. He turned to his assistant and asked, "What's going on in there?"
"Today is Tisha B'Av," came the reply, "and the Jews are mourning the loss of their Temple."
"Really?" Napoleon asked. "When was it destroyed?"
"Close to two thousand years ago," the assistant replied.
"If the Jews are still crying after so many hundreds of years, then I have no doubt that the Temple will be rebuilt!"
When we truly mourn the destruction and really, truly, with all our heart, yearn for the Beit Hamikdash to be rebuilt, we are willing to do whatever is necessary to hasten the geula, the ultimate redemption.
The Beit Hamikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam, baseless hatred. And each generation that does not merit to see the Beit Hamikdash rebuilt, is a generation that is worthy of its destruction – in other words a generation that is lacking unity.
If we really truly, with all our heart and soul yearn to see the Beit Hamikdash rebuilt, then we will do anything to rebuild it, even something as challenging and demanding as talking to our neighbor, or (ugh! This is a hard one!) smiling at our enemy!
Because of the present war, half of the people living in the north have fled south to safer ground. Many families have graciously opened their homes to accept evacuees. In the north, people of very different cultures are spending weeks in bomb shelters. People are sharing their food, clothes, even bathrooms!
It is up to us to take advantage of these unique challenges to bring unity – ahavas chinam, baseless love, among brothers. It's not easy for the people in bomb shelters to live in such close proximity with strangers! It's not easy for the people in the center and south of the country to find themselves inundated with thousands of penniless refugees, in need of assistance with everything from getting their children into our summer camps to having a bed to sleep in.
So if we truly mourn the destruction, we will do whatever we can to bring it to an end – even if it means helping another Jew!
And we know that this Galut will end. The same Prophets who prophesized the destruction, prophesized the redemption!
Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Akiva were going up to Jerusalem. When they reached Mount Scopus, they tore their clothes. Approaching the Temple Mount, they saw a fox run out of the area of the Holy of Holies. As they began to weep, Rabbi Akiva laughed. "Why are you laughing?" the others asked.
"Why are you crying?" he retorted.
They responded, "When foxes run in the place where only the High Priest could enter on Yom Kippur, shouldn't we cry?"
"That is why I laughed," he answered. "I know two prophesies. The first, of the prophet Micah saying, 'Because of you, Zion will be a plowed field. Jerusalem a ruin, and the Temple Mount a forest.' The second of Zechariah saying, 'Old men and women will yet rejoice in the streets of Jerusalem.' Until I saw the first prophesy fulfilled, I feared the second would never happen. Now that I have seen the first prophesy come true, I know the second will also."
The other's answered, "Akiva, you have comforted us! Akiva, you have comforted us!"
Hopefully, by the time this article is posted on BreslevIsrael Tisha b'Av will have turned into a day of rejoicing. And if not, we must take comfort in the knowledge that our mourning is bringing the redemption that much closer. No matter how dark the situation appears, we cannot give up hope, because we know that just as the first prophesy was fulfilled, so too will the second prophecy be fulfilled – quickly, and today!

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