13 Tishrei 5781 / Thursday, October 01, 2020 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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Jerusalem's Future

Hashem created this whole universe for only one reason – emuna, so that people would learn emuna. Emuna is the key to maintaining a united Jerusalem...


In tractate Chagiga 14a, the Talmud teaches us that Yerushalayim wasn't destroyed until the "men of faith" disappeared. In other words, as long as there were a few people around with emuna, uncompromising faith in Hashem - happy all the time because they're glad to be alive, happy to be Jews, glad to have Torah and mitzvahs, and appreciative of all of Hashem's blessings - Jerusalem wasn't destroyed. In a modern context, that means that as long as there were a few Breslevers around, singing, dancing and praising Hashem's name all day long, the Romans couldn't conquer Yerushalayim.
It's funny, because Yerushalayim is in the news today. The current Israeli government is talking about giving whole chunks of it to the Arabs. I think that we can safely say – according to the Talmud's teachings – as long as there are people of real faith around, nothing will happen to Yerushalayim, with Hashem's loving grace.
Hashem created this whole universe for only one reason – emuna, so that people would learn emuna. Emuna is the key to the entire creation. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev writes that Emuna and Eretz Yisroel are one entity; the security, welfare and very existence of Israel depend on emuna!
Jerusalem is called Kirya Ne'emana - the city of emuna. As such, it was destroyed because of the weakening of emuna. Let's take a look at the cause of this weakening of emuna. Where did it come from? How did it happen?
Let's look at the Torah in Parshat Shlach, where the meraglim – the twelve spies – return from their reconnaissance mission in Eretz Yisroel. They had to gather as much intelligence on the country as possible, so they toured from south to north and from west to east. After they saw giants, with the exception of Calev ben Yephuneh and Yehoshua (Joshua) bin Nun (the son of Nun), none of the spies – and each one was a leader of his respective tribe - believed that the Jewish people could defeat such adversaries. The emuna of the meraglim had crumbled! They returned to Moshe (Moses) and the Children of Israel encamped in Sinai and totally discouraged the people. That night was Tisha B'av, the first disastrous Tisha B'av in our people's history. The Children of Israel didn't believe Calev and Yehoshua, but they did believe the ten other spies, which was tantamount to a total lack of faith in Hashem. The people cried all night long.
The Talmud teaches us, in tractate Sota 35a, that Hashem said to the children of Israel, "You're crying tonight for nothing? I'll make sure that you cry for generations to come!"
That was the first Tisha B'Av. Subsequently, Tisha B'Av witnessed the destruction of the 1st and 2nd temples, the fall of Beitar, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, and the beginning of the Holocaust and other disasters.
Something seems to be wrong here. Hashem runs the world according to the ATFAT principle, A Turn For A Turn. That's how Hashem educates us. So we have to ask, If we cried for only one night, why did we have to suffer on Tisha B'av ever since? Is that fair? Is that ATFAT? Where's the proportion here?
Let's try to understand. First of all, crying for nothing demonstrates a complete lack of emuna. Crying and complaining on the way out of Egypt evidenced extreme insensitivity. Hashem performed phenomenal miracles for the children of Israel in Egypt and on the way out. He fed, clothed and provided health care for millions of people in the desert for forty years! Imagine the size of the budget necessary to care for so many people for so many years. Look at the difficulty the US Government had in care for 800,000 homeless people after hurricane Katrina; and that was for less than a year in the "Land of Opportunity" with all its riches, resources and modern technology! Now think about what Hashem did for so many more people for 40 years in the world's biggest wasteland. There's hardly anything in Sinai but sand, rocks and mountains!
Let's take a closer look at Hashem's miracles. The ten plagues hit the Egyptians selectively, without harming a hair on a Jewish head. Look what Hashem did to the entire Egyptian Army when He split the Red Sea. During the 40 years in the desert, Hashem personally fed and clothed over 2 million Jews. Not a single person died from a scorpion bite or anything similar.
So, instead of thanking Hashem for these incredible miracles, the people complained. "Hashem wants to send us to some dangerous place . . . these giants are going to kill us!"  They voiced all kinds of complaints, and even worse, they had a sour attitude. This was not simply a lack of gratitude; it was amnesia and a lack of faith!
Suppose the children of Israel had looked at their world through emuna eyes. They would have said, "Baruch Hashem. Hashem has taken care of us until now; He will continue to do so in the future!" Instead they cried out and complained.
Doesn't this sound terrible? Guess what, the root of ignorance, ingratitude and complaint is still in us. In every generation, it sprouts more poisonous shoots of lack of faith.
The future of Yerushalayim doesn't depend on whether or not Bibi talks to Abu Mazen, or whether President Obama puts pressure on Israel or not. It depends on us, whether or not we make ourselves anshei amana, people of faith. If each of us makes a concerted effort to strengthen his or her emuna and replace complaints with praises to Hashem for all the wonderful blessings He bestows on us, we will be doing our part to strengthen Yerushalayim and hasten the full redemption of our people and the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash. Amen.

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