Tisha b’Av

By Rabbi Yosef Shemtov: We can surely say Tisha b’Av is the saddest day of the year. It is the day that both the first and second Beit Hamikdash (temple) were destroyed. We need to understand that the temple was not just a building where B’nei Israel brought sacrifices, but it was HaShem’s house and His Shechina was dwelling there. As long as the temple existed, blessings came down on Israel but from the time it was destroyed, each day we have more problems than the day before.

The Gemara says, “don’t think that enemies destroyed the temple. Rather, they destroyed a ruined building, meaning when B’nei Israel sinned, HaShem took His shechina away and that’s why other nations were able to burn down the temple. In reality, it was our sign that caused the destruction.

It is interesting to note this month is called Av, which means father. Why is this tragic month called a father? We can answer with this example: A child insisted to his father to be taken along on his business trip. The father accepted with the condition that the child should follow him in the forest because he would be carrying merchandise and would not be able to hold his son’s hand. The child promised and their journey started. In the middle of the way, the child was amazed by the beautiful trees and the birds flying and stood to look more and then realized that he had lost his father. He got scared and started yelling father father till he almost passed out.

Then the father who was looking for the child found him and gave him a slap. The child looked at his father and smiled and got so happy because the slap meant that his father is here and didn’t leave him.

Yes, our Temple is destroyed, but we know and realize our Father never ever leaves us and even if we are in long gallut, He is always with us and is waiting for us to stretch our hand to Him. May we see rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash soon and have the merit of having the Shechina in our midst.