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Dear  Naaleh Friend,

This week we feature a class on the Three Weeks by Mrs. Shira Smiles  from the series Jerusalem, Echoes of Lament: Tisha B'Av and the Three Weeks .  This Torah shiur,  Desiring And Delving, is  on the period of Bein Hamitzarim.  Mrs. Shira Smiles discusses the aveilut for the churban and how it is not a lament for the past but a way of bringing us to the reality of the geulah within us.
To view the class click on the image below.


This week's edition of Torah Imecha on Parshat Matos-Massei is available on our  Newsletter page  Click here  for the printer friendly version, to share at your Shabbat table! Be sure to visit the homepage as well, for many more inspiring Torah classes! 

Shabbat Shalom!

-Ashley Klapper and the Naaleh Crew
For Tehillim list please click here to view our Refuah Shleima page
Eicha- Echoing Questions Eternal Answers Class 5
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Mrs. Shoshie
Megilat Eicha is written in acrostic form according to the aleph bet . However there's one exception. In Chapter 2, Verse 16 and 17 are reversed. The peh is written before the ayin . Verse 16 is a painful verse, " All your enemies have opened their mouths against you; they gnashed their teeth and said, 'We have engulfed [her]. This is the day we longed for...'" Our enemies waited for the day they could open their mouths against us. They rejoiced at our downfall. The Midrash tells us that ayin and peh were switched because of what they represent. The Jewish people put peh  (their mouth) before ayin (their eyes). The Arizal teaches that each month of the year corresponds to an organ of the body. Taamuz is the right eye and Av is the left eye. We find this double language of eyes in Eicha, " Al eilah ani bochyia eini eini yordu mayim - For this I cry, my eyes shed tears." Similarly we say in shemonei esrei , " V'sechezena eineinu b'shvucha l'Tzion ...-May our eyes see your return to Tzion"  So too in Yeshaya it says, " Ki ayin b'ayin yiru b'shuv Hashem Tzion- They shall see eye to eye the return of Hashem to Tzion."
A significant aspect of the rectification we need to do to bring the redemption is related to our eyes and how we perceive, interpret, and understand. In the era leading up to the destruction, Klal Yisrael put their mouths before their eyes. They spoke before they beheld. Hashem wants us to view the world through the lens of the Torah and not through the lens of our desires. Our interpretation of life should be through ayin - the eyes of Hashem and through ayin - the 70 different facets of Torah. Only then can a person open his peh to speak. What led to the destruction was that we put peh before ayin , we spoke without knowing, without really understanding, without using our einayim, and this is what we need to rectify.
If the yetzer hara doesn't exist in the next world, how does a person who takes himself away from it, honor Hashem? This world is called alma dishikra , the world of falsehood while olam haba is called alma d'kushta , the world of truth. More than any kind of falsehood, the biggest falsehood is thinking there are two controlling forces- Hashem and something 'other.' In the next world we will see things as they are. When a person confesses that he sinned, that he thought there was another source of control which he followed and he now rejects this, he brings olam haba into olam hazeh so that both worlds become one. In this way he honors Hashem in this world and the next world.  All the forms of the yetzer hara, both tzurah and chomer, seduce us into the vision of there being more than one power source. The yetzer hara  of tzurah tells us, "I'm so despicable and small that I'm outside of Hashem's reality." The yetzer hara of chomer says the delights of the material world are somehow out of Hashem's authority and that if we want pleasure we need to take Hashem out of the picture and doing so is possible. The real issue is always the unity of Hashem. We need to bring consciousness of Hashem into the world by putting our faith in that which is good and rejecting the illusion of multiple powers.
Let's examine a concrete example of this. Your dryer broke and the company is dragging their feet in sending you a repairmen, ostensibly waiting for the guarantee to expire very soon. You can easily deride them or you can say this is part of something bigger. There's a circle here. Part of it involves not having the sum of money that you think belongs to you and facing the trial of looking at a fellow Jew who is imperfect and not maligning him. The right response would be to ask Hashem for mercy for this person who is so distant.  If you can bring yourself to see the bigger picture, to move towards good, you will have dealt with it fairer, as opposed to listening to the voice within you that says there are two power sources, Hashem and the repairman. If that doesn't work, the next step would be to learn Torah, to distract yourself with goodness so that your mind expands. If that doesn't work the next step would be to say the shema and verbally talk about Hashem's oneness. Lastly one could try to imagine oneself on the day of death and realize how petty this will all look in olam habah, a world which is only truth.
Building Ourselves Building Our Nation
Based on a Naaleh.com shiur by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
The prophet Zecharya prophesied at the end of the First Temple period. It was an era that appeared promising. The anshei knesset hagedola had gathered and the exiles were returning. But under the surface there were a lot of chinks in the armor. Only a small percentage of Jews were coming back to Israel. They were going to rebuild the beit hamikdash , but under duress, and it would not be the same as before.

Part of this very difficult era is revealed in one of the prophecies of Zecharaya.  Zecharya had a vision where he saw Yehoshua Kohen Gadol wearing filthy, repulsive, clothes. A voice told him to take off these clothing and garb himself in white, clean, garments. Then he saw a menorah and on either side there was an olive tree growing. Olives were squeezed into the cups of the menorah without the intervention of a human hand. Hashem asked him, "Do you understand what you see?" Zecharya answered,
"No." Hashem then said enigmatically, "It will not be through valor or strength, but through my spirit." Yehohua Kohen Gadol saw himself as defiled. He had two children who had married out. Hashem said, "Take off the filthy garments. Put on white garments. In the circumstances of exile, even if you saved yourself, it's a miracle."  The white clothing signify the clothing of the soul, which is thought, speech, and action. In exile, our thought, speech, and action can easily be defiled. We don't know who we are. We think, feel, speak, and act along the same pattern as the gentile world. Yehoshua Kohen Gadol was wearing filthy clothes. His children were influenced so deeply, they left. But then we see the menorah , a symbol of light. The seven branches parallel the seven attributes of Hashem. We have the potential to be ignited. Hashem gave us an answer that can console all of us.  It's not going to be your valor or strength. It will come through my spirit. This means that under the filthy clothes there's a soul. Hashem perceives that, although sometimes other people and our own selves don't see it.

Many years ago when my husband worked for Ohr Somayach, he traveled to Milano, Italy to do fundraising. There he met a Chabad shaliach . His son- in- law was a brilliant speaker and he succeeded in building a successful Jewish community. One of his followers was a man who came to every Torah lecture, bought tefilin , and was very earnest and sincere in his pursuit of Judaism. But there was one thing that bothered the Rabbi. Every two weeks he would disappear and be evasive about it. One day the man gave the Rabbi a significant check and told him it would be his last shiur. He was going to marry a gentile girl. If it meant choosing between Judaism and his fiancée, he had had chosen her. The Rabbi asked him if he would be in New York soon on business. The man said, "Yes." The Rabbi then said, "Go to the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Tell him what you want to do and see what he says." So he went and told the Rebbe. The Rebbe said, "I'm jealous of you. I'm living the life I lived. I'm not making any big changes. You could change. If you decide not to marry this girl you're place in the Next World will be inestimable."  The man dropped his fiancée.
It's possible to get the filthy clothing off. It's possible to shed the patterns of thought, speech, and deed we acquired in exile. The real self under all the grime yearns for this. You may say, "I don't have the strength to do it. If I could press a button and get rid of all of the ways that I'm destroying myself through misguided thinking and speech patterns, I'd press the button. But it's hard." So Hashem says, "You are the golden menorah. You have it in you. You don't have to recreate yourself. All the divine attributes are there- chesed, hod, malchut ... I'll put in the wisdom, I'll ignite the flame. It doesn't have to come through your strength or valor, it will come through my spirit."  But you have to want it to happen.

Zecharya began to speak and his prophecy had one theme- get the filthy clothing off. It's repulsive, there's a self on the inside. But the Jewish people didn't want to hear what he said. They were defensive because truth resonates. Eventually Zecharya was murdered in the beit hamikdash . When they removed his body and tried to clean up the blood nothing could get it off. Hashem wanted them to see the red stain. Man is called adam . Adam is rooted in the word dam - blood as it says, " Ki hadam hu hanefesh , for blood is the soul."  

The second beit hamikdash was destroyed because of senseless hatred. If love means caring and closeness, hatred means detaching and not caring. The word for cruelty in Hebrew is achzar , a combination of two words ach and zar , only strange. When you look at another Jew and see a stranger you've pressed the achzar sinat chinam button. The Gemara tells us that a person who speaks ill of another is as if he was kofer b'ikar . The Maharal explains that it means the person can't see the ikur (main factor) which is Hashem whose presence fills every inch of reality in the soul of a person. He sees the impediment, the filthy clothing, not the real person underneath it all. The Maharal says speech is the end product, thought is the beginning. It's very hard to control your thoughts.

You may see someone doing something you think they shouldn't do. Your mind interprets it. In a few seconds you're comparing this image to every other image you ever saw. The brain is quick. Let us say there's inner protest, and sometimes what you see really isn't right. It's not what you want to see. The ideal response would be to feel empathy. This person is failing just like I failed. This should take you to compassion. Hashem's presence in that person is in deep exile. Your reaction should be a prayer, "Hashem help this person get out of the prison he's put around himself." When you lack empathy it will engender loshon hara and much worse. Empathy is the piece that holds everything up. It requires you to speak about other people the way you wish they would speak about you. It's recognizing the significance and beauty in every Jew.

In the merit of strengthening ourselves in our relationship with others, may Hashem rebuild the beit hamikdash speedily in our days.

Featured Classes
The Lessons of Jewish History
Rabbi Avishai David
Parshat Matos:
The Three Levels of the Jewish Soul
Rabbi Hershel Reichman
The Three Weeks
Rabbi Hanoch Teller
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