Tisha B'Av Message
Many people find themselves lost and confused by the 3 weeks and Tisha B'av. The idea of mourning a loss that that we, the Jewish people living in the year 5780, never had, is a challenge that leaves many people mystified. There is a famous solution: to appreciate that the difficulties that we can connect to- the Holocaust, Torah abiding people being discriminated against and Eretz Yisroel being under constant threat and attack- are all outcomes of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash0.
The problem with this approach is that it is very hard to connect the dots- on an emotional level. How can one really feel that these difficulties are because of the Beis Hamikdash having been destroyed? Often focusing on the challenges and difficulties that the Jewish people have endured leads to a longing for Moshiach who will put an end to all of these troubles, but to mourn the loss of the Beis Hamikdash is very difficult to connect to. To connect to a sense of sadness of what is missing, of what is lacking in the world, is very difficult when we have not experienced it.
The Ramchal in his magnum opus, the Mesillas Yesharim, exhorts a person to daven and to be pained on the loss of Yerushalayim. The Ramchal then continues and says "and perhaps a person will question: who am I to daven about the loss of Yerushalayim and on the Jewish people living in exile?"
This is a very understandable question. Why should any of us, regular people, be so haughty to think that our davening to Hashem for him to bring Moshiach and rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, will make a difference? Perhaps the Gedolei Hador, the great Tannaim, Amoraim, Rishonim and other great Rabbis of the thousands of years of exile, perhaps they could effect real change with their prayers. But if they were ultimately unsuccessful, how could I think that I will be?
The Ramchal gives a couple of answers to his question. One of them, I believe, holds the key to unlocking the secret of being pained over the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and the Jewish people being in exile.
The Ramchal answers, that true, it could be that one's prayers will not be able to accomplish Hashem bringing Moshiach, nevertheless it is a person's job to daven and be pained over this. How could it be that Hashem's honor is not held in the proper esteem and no one cares!? How could it be that the Beis Hamikdash is destroyed and no one is pained!?
It brings Hashem, in humanistic terms that we can understand, great nachas, an amazing pride and good feeling, when he sees his children davening and pained for his honor.
The key to really feeling the loss of the Beis Hamikdash is to look around the world and see that Hashem's honor is not recognized, much less given its proper place. The Torah is looked down upon and criticized by immoral and degenerate people, the Jewish people- Hashem's chosen nation- is constantly on the receiving end of denigration.
The Beis Hamikdash, where Hashem's honor was accorded the proper respect and given its proper place of greatness, was destroyed. Although we didn't see the actual destruction, we do see the dishonor and insult, the effects of the destruction. So while, yes, it is difficult to fully appreciate what the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash means, we can look around and see how the Torah, and Hashem himself, are not accorded the proper respect and to be pained by this.
How can we not be moved to tears when reflecting on how Hashem, the one who is operating all events in this world, who feeds and nourishes all life in this world is not respected and honored!? Hashem, who only created man and the entire universe in order to do kindness with others, is ignored and his Torah is mocked and belittled.
What an outrage! What a travesty! This is something that we can all feel and connect to. All one needs to do is open a newspaper and read about the events going on around us. How could you not be saddened and pained at seeing- even some 'Jewish' movements- championing that which is abominable to Hashem and at the same time dismissing that which is dear to him.
How hurt and insulted do WE feel when we do not get the due that we expect? How do WE feel when our contributions to an event, to an organization or even to a family supper are overlooked and not recognized? How do we feel when that which is meaningful to us is dismissed and that which offends us is trumpeted and admired.
You can then begin to imagine the disgrace and affront to Hashem's honor. Hashem showers upon the world tremendous wealth, success, food and drink- with a generosity that has never been seen before- yet now, in the times of his abundant kindness, Hashem is forgotten, cast aside and his Laws violated. As we will say in Eichah "it is on these that I cry."
Wishing you an inspiring and meaningful
Shabbos Chazon and Tisha B'av,
Rabbi Eli Meir Kramer